This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 36, we saw a middleweight showdown between Derek Brunson (23-7) and Darren Till (18-4-1). Brunson was looking to pick up his fifth consecutive win.
Derek Brunson is the one guy in the UFC I probably underrate more than most. To be completely honest, I’ve picked against him in virtually every fight he’s had in the last few years. When you look at him overall and his skillset, there’s nothing that really wows you.
That said, nobody can deny the improvements he’s made overall since moving to Sanford MMA in Florida. Brunson has gone from a decent middleweight to one of the top contenders in the UFC and he was looking to show that again on Saturday.
In the fight, Till had some good moments on the feet. In fact, Till hurt Brunson in the third round. Brunson doesn’t have the greatest chin and it does seem like he gets hurt in virtually every fight he’s in. However, Brunson does a fantastic job at remaining composed.
Brunson dug deep and was able to secure a takedown after getting rocked by Till. Once the fight was on the ground, it was over from there. Brunson was able to secure a choke and get the submission win at UFC Vegas 36.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 36?
Immediately after picking up the win, Brunson went right over to one of the octagon cameras and made it clear who he wants next. Brunson called out the UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (21-1).
Worth noting that Adesanya was the last man to beat Brunson. The two men fought in November of 2018 at UFC 230 and the fight was not close. Adesanya completely walked through Brunson and TKO’d him in the first round.
That said, Brunson has looked sensational since. He’s now won five fights in a row and he’s ranked fourth in the middleweight division. Brunson said he would be willing to wait things out for a UFC title shot, but is that wise.
Adesanya’s next challenge is a rematch with Robert Whittaker (23-5). Whittaker is also a past opponent of Brunson’s and like Adesanya, Whittaker knocked Brunson out in the first round. Brunson wants to get both of those fights back.
The next UFC middleweight title fight is likely not going to take place until early 2022. That said, Brunson would have to wait until the late spring or early summer. I don’t think it’s a wise decision and if he’s too passive, he might get passed up.
If you’re asking me, I would tell him to either fight Jared Cannonier (14-5) or the winner of Paulo Costa (13-1) and Marvin Vettori (17-4-1). Brunson shouldn’t have to fight again, but the reality of the situation is that he might have to.
The UFC is going to try and make the biggest title fight possible after Whittaker and Adesanya fight again. If Brunson just sits and waits, he might not get the nod.