Derek Brunson explains how he underestimated Israel Adesanya the first time they fought

Derek Brunson
Image Credit: @UFC/Instagram

Derek Brunson explains how he underestimated UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya the first time they fought inside the Octagon.

Brunson is coming off of five straight wins in the UFC middleweight division, and his next test is a matchup against Jared Cannonier in early 2022. It’s expected that the winner of that fight will take on the winner of Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2 for the 185lbs belt. If Brunson does get by Cannonier and fight Adesanya again, it would be a rematch for him. The first time he fought Adesanya, Brunson was knocked out at UFC 230 back in 2018.

Speaking to MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour in a recent interview, Brunson admitted that the first time he fought “The Last Stlebender,” he underestimated him. If he does get the rematch, then Brunson says he will not underestimate his rival the next time.

“I was pissed off right when I went back to the locker room (at UFC 230). I was just like, ‘Man, I can’t believe that happened.’ I was just so mad that I was able to get in so easy — like, I had him body-locked, and bro, those are easy finishes for me, when I grab somebody that well. I just felt like I squandered the opportunity. I kind of took him lightly, I would say. I underestimated him. I was like, ‘I’m going to squash this guy easily,’” Brunson said.

“When I say I underestimate people, I don’t disrespect people, I just feel like I got their number. So I’m like, ‘I’ve got this guy’s number, no problem.’ So I kind of underestimated where I needed to be and my cardio wasn’t up there. I was training at home with soccer moms, soccer dads, firemen, police officers and stuff like that, so those were my training partners — the guys who weren’t full-time martial artists. So I’m up here smoking these guys in the gym, and I go into the fight and I’m not ready for this high-level guy that’s in front of me who’s got a lot of feints, a good style that’s going to be scrambling.”

Do you think Derek Brunson has a chance to beat Israel Adesanya in the rematch?

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