Derek Brunson will look to derail another hype train when he faces one of sport’s biggest rising stars.
© Provided by MMAJunkie
After bouncing Edmen Shahbazyan out of the ranks of the unbeaten in August, Brunson (21-7 MMA, 12-5 UFC) will headline UFC Fight Night on March 20 when he takes on Kevin Holland.
Brunson has competed against a who’s who of the UFC’s middleweight class, but has found motivation in taking on the young guns of the division. Holland may have had an incredible 2020 – including a knockout over Ronaldo Souza – but Brunson expects to have the advantage over him on fight night.
“I see myself just putting it on Holland,” Brunson told Mike Swick on the “Real Quick” podcast. “I don’t really see any one place that he’s better than me. His cardio is not better than mine, his wrestling isn’t better than mine, his striking isn’t better than mine, his BJJ isn’t better than mine.”
Video: Aleksandar Rakic looking to earn title shot with finish of Thiago Santos | UFC 259 (SMG)
The pair share a prior history, as Brunson explains that he tried to recruit Holland (21-5 MMA, 8-2 UFC) as a training partner when he was preparing to face Israel Adesanya at UFC 230 in November 2018. He claims that a young Holland went from showering him with praise to calling him out on numerous occasions just a couple of years later.
“He’s been calling me out for the past three fights,” Brunson said. “And it’s funny, because I was gonna fly him in to train with me for Izzy and I think at this point I was like, ‘Man, you look good out there, good job.’ He was like, ‘Oh man, it’s just a blessing. It’s such an honor to have a UFC guy talking to me,’ and then he went from that to calling me out, so I’m all about it.” MORE:
UFC 257 video: Eminem track hypes Conor McGregor's return vs. Dustin Poirier
Mike Brown: Dustin Poirier 'dramatically different' entering Conor McGregor rematch
Paige VanZant's Bare Knuckle FC debut set for Feb. 5
Video: Is there anything wrong with MMA pros wanting to fight Jake Paul?
Jon Jones vacated UFC light heavyweight title out of boredom, no intention to go back