UFC middleweight contender Derek Brunson explained why a matchup against highly-ranked Jack Hermansson is the next fight to make at 185lbs.
Brunson is coming off of a huge third-round TKO victory over Edmen Shahbazyan in the main event of UFC Vegas 5. Brunson was a +300 underdog in the contest but defied the odds as he beat down the youngster to improve to a three-fight win streak overall. The win over Shahbazyan keeps Brunson solidified in the top-10 of the UFC middleweight division as he looks to continue to climb the ladder and get closer and closer to a title shot.
After taking out Brunson, Ian Heinisch, and Elias Theodorou in his last three outings, Brunson is hoping to continue to move up the middleweight ladder, so he’s targeting fighters ranked above him. The veteran recently said he was interested in matchups against Hermansson and Darren Till, but he now seems to have honed in on Hermansson.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Brunson explained why Hermansson is the ideal next opponent.
“I need to crack that top-five. So the best fight for me next is probably Jack Hermansson. Very tough guy, he’s riding a hot streak. I seen him trying to pick fights with Darren Till but that’s not the fight. Me versus Hermansson, that’s the fight to make. I need to crack the top five. Big name, tough opponent. I think that’s the fight to make next,” Brunson said.
Brunson is currently the No. 7 ranked middleweight in the UFC while Hermansson is ranked at No. 4, so it makes total sense that Brunson would be calling him out. Everyone else ranked about Brunson — champion Israel Adesanya, plus No. 1 Robert Whittaker, No. 2 Paulo Costa, No. 3 Jared Cannonier, No. 5 Yoel Romero, and No. 6 Darren Till — are all currently booked, or in the case of Till injured, so Hermansson is the perfect callout.
Hermansson is coming off of a surprising first-round submission win via heel hook over Gastelum and he has won five of his last six fights with the lone loss in that stretch coming against Cannonier. Brunson is hoping to make a title run at age 36 and if he wants to break into the top-five then Hermansson is the right guy to be calling out. If you’re Hermansson, you might want to fight someone ranked higher, but with no one else available, Brunson makes the most sense if Hermansson plans to stay busy following the quick Gastelum win.
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