All You Need to Know About Derek Brunson

Published 03/20/2021, 3:16 PM EDT

Derek Brunson will fight Kevin Holland in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Holland. Brunson has been fighting in the UFC since 2012 and used to be a part of the famous Strikeforce promotion before it was taken over by the UFC.


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Brunson has been a perennial contender of the UFC middleweight division since joining the promotion. Fans often consider him as the gatekeeper of the division as a win over the veteran is often considered a path to a title shot in the 185lbs division of the UFC.

However, Brunson proved in his last outing he is much more than that as he brought an end to the undefeated run of Edmen Shahbazyan.


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‘The Golden Boy’ was previously at a record of 11-0 and was on the back of 3 spectacular finishes in the UFC. His head-kick knockout of Brad Tavares was a thing of beauty, in fact.

However, the experience and crafty style of Brunson proved to be too much for Shahbazyan. And Brunson proved yet again why he has been such a long-lasting Top-10 contender of the 185lbs division of the UFC.

The fight against ‘Trailblazer’ this weekend will be very important for Brunson as another win will move him up to the upper echelon of the division.

He will even find himself right in the middle of the title conversation of the middleweight division. Before the important clash, we take a look at some other facts you need to know about Brunson.

1. Derek Brunson’s wrestling background

Brunson has won multiple regional championships in wrestling throughout his career. Also, he is a 3-time NCAA-All American from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He also boasts of 121 total victories throughout his school and college career.

2. Derek Brunson was supposed to be on TUF

Brunson was supposed to be a part of the Ultimate Fighter Season 17: Team Jones vs Team Sonnen. However, he was still a Strikeforce fighter back then and was signed to Showtime. He was removed from the show on the first day of filming as Showtime was yet to release him from the promotion.

3. Brunson has only fought a row of killers over the course of his career

Brunson holds a professional record of 21-7. He has 12 T/Ko and 3 submission finishes under his belt, which is an impressive feat considering his wrestling background.

However, his 7 losses have mostly been against former World Champions or title challengers. 2 losses against former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo Souza, and losses against UFC champions like Robert Whittaker, Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, and a loss to 2-time title contender Yoel Romero make up the 6 out of his 7 losses.

Only his first split decision loss to Kendall Grove is against a somewhat unknown opponent.

4. Derek Brunson fights like his family has been held hostage

Brunson rushes in his fights like he has forgotten some work or has a bus to catch. He almost chases his opponents, leaving himself vulnerable in the process.

His 13 1st-round finishes over the course of his career are a testament to his early pace. Also, he has been finished 4 times in the first round due to his reckless style.

5. Brunson is a knockout artist with vicious power


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Brunson has 7 knockouts in his UFC stint. That places him among the leaders in the history of the middleweight division, second only to Anderson ‘The Spider‘ Silva in this regard.

His most notable victims to date have been against the likes of Lyoto Machida, Uriah Hall, Sam Alvey, and Ed Herman. If Brunson can pull off a victory against a hungry young contender like Holland, he will make himself relevant in the title conversation yet again.

Despite his long career, he has never fought for the UFC belt. However, a win this weekend is essential for that to happen. How will Brunson fare this weekend? Let us know.


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Apratim Banerjee

713 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.