Derek Brunson might have snuck up on people as a contender in the UFC’s middleweight division, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to overlook the Wilmington, N.C., native.
Brunson won his fifth straight fight in the Octagon, as he scored a first-round technical knockout of Uriah Hall in the UFC Fight Night Hidalgo co-headliner on Saturday night. Perhaps even more impressive, it was his fourth consecutive victory inside of a round.
“I worked really hard. When I come out here and get finishes I’m not surprised,” Brunson said on Fox Sports 1. “But when they go really fast like this — because it’s not really supposed to happen like this — you’ve got two highly skilled individuals and to get a fast finish over and over and over, it’s like ‘This isn’t real.’ But I’ll take it any way I can get it.”
Brunson and Hall weren’t exactly cordial leading up to their clash, but the victor was quick to seek out his opponent for a handshake after the bout’s conclusion. While Hall likely wasn’t thrilled with the stoppage — none of Brunson’s follow-up blows appeared to land after he initially dropped his foe with a big left hook — Brunson believes things might have been different had he been the one on the canvas.
“Maybe he thought it was a fast stoppage, so maybe someday we’ll do a round two,” Brunson said. “I’m a nice guy. If Uriah Hall would’ve floored me, knocked me out, I guarantee you he would’ve been like stomping on my grave like Tito [Ortiz], digging, whatever. I do this for my family, for my daughters. I just want to give them a better lifestyle than what I had when I was younger. It’s all business for me.”
Lately, business has been booming for the 32-year-old Jackson-Wink MMA product. Brunson has quietly won seven of his eight fights within the Las Vegas-based promotion. With a bout between Chris Weidman and Romero rumored for UFC 205 and ex-champ Luke Rockhold set to rematch Ronaldo Souza later this year, Brunson might have to wait a little bit longer to get his shot.
“I said it’s my time. I’ve been coming,” Brunson said. “I’m 7-1 in the UFC; I’m finishing guys at a fast rate. I’m about ready for that title shot. I should be leaping guys. I’m finishing guys.”