— UFC (@ufc) January 26, 2018
Things didn’t go Derek Brunson‘s way the last time he fought Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza in Strikeforce. He got caught with a punch coming in, a lot like his fight with Robert Whittaker, that ended his night early in the first round. A lot has changed since that fight six years ago though, for both men. At UFC Charlotte this weekend, Brunson will look for redemption against Jacare and a chance to steal his spot in the upper echelons of the middleweight top five. Not only that, but he’s fighting to be next in line for a title shot.
“I might have to fight another one because [Robert] Whittaker being the champ would be the next to get the winner of [Luke Rockhold versus Yoel Romero]. It’s like, what the hell, here we go again. It’s always something. My plan is to go out here and finish [Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza]. I’m the No. 3 guy, if I finish this guy in the first round or finish him in impressive fashion, I’ll be OK to wait for my title shot. Jacare was looking invincible and thought he was going to get a title shot until he got impatient and he ended up fighting Romero and losing a very close fight. It was a split decision I believe.”
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) January 26, 2018
“Whittaker looked good against [Jacare], but people look at him as one of the best fighters on the planet. So, I’m putting the work in and I’m gonna show it in my performance. I go out here and smash this guy like I plan on doing, I feel I definitely should be rewarded. I fought a murderer’s row. If you look at the guys I fought, most people would have an even record. I fought everybody — whenever — I knock out guys who haven’t been knocked out before. I finish guys who haven’t been finished before. I’m putting in the work and I think it’s about time to reap some of the benefits.” — Derek Brunson speaking to FloCombat.
Derek Brunson has only lost two of his last nine fights in the UFC, but those were to the current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and one of the greatest of all time in Anderson Silva. Now, he once again gets a shot at one of the best in the world. Aside from losses to Yoel Romero as well as Whitter himself, Jacare has won 10 of his last 12 fights. This seems like the perfect time for both of these men to fight, as the chaotic middleweight division attempts to revert back to a state of homeostasis. They’ll both get their chance tomorrow in UFC Charlotte’s main event.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/26/2018.