It didn’t take long for the PFL to announce the first fight for Derek Brunson (23-9). Yesterday, we learned that Brunson had agreed to a deal with The Professional Fighters League. Brunson’s manager said that he’d be making his debut with the promotion this year and would compete in the light heavyweight season in 2024.
This morning, the promotion confirmed that they had agreed to a deal with Brunson. In addition to that, the promotion sent out a press release announcing his first fight. Brunson will make his debut on the PFL’s Championship card on November 24th and he will be taking on former welterweight champion Ray Cooper III (25-8-1).
The promotion’s CEO Peter Murray said in this morning’s press release “The 2023 PFL World Championship is set to be the grandest event in PFL history, and we are excited to welcome Derek Brunson to the PFL and host the return of two-time PFL World Champion, Ray Cooper III. MMA’s richest night will feature the biggest stars in MMA vying for six world championships and $6 million, while including the return of Kayla Harrison and Biaggio Ali Walsh.”
PFL Championship Event
Ray Cooper III and his team have openly talked about wanting to compete at 185 pounds. However, the promotion to this point hasn’t had a middleweight division. With that, Cooper III has had to fight at 170 and he’s had a lot of success there. He’s not a two-time champion for no reason. Now, he’ll get to fight in the weight class he’s always wanted to inside the Smart Cage.
Derek Brunson had originally agreed to compete on the UFC’s MSG card in November before parting ways with the UFC to sign with the PFL. With that, he was already training and preparing to fight at 185 pounds in November. To that point, it’s not surprising to see him take this fight.
The fight is a big addition to a very stacked card and as Murray said, it’s turning out to be the biggest championship card for the promotion yet.