Derek Brunson was the first real test for Israel Adesanya as the two locked horns at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
In the lead-up to the fight, both men trash-talked one another which hyped up the fight. When the two finally made the walk and fought one another, Adesanya made it look easy as he TKO’d Brunson in the first round. After the fight, Brunson said he was angry because he thought it would be an easy fight and he says he didn’t prepare properly for him, which includes who he trained with.
“I was pissed off right when I went back to the locker room [at UFC 230],” Brunson said on The MMA Hour. “I was just like, ‘Man, I can’t believe that happened.’ I was just so mad that I was able to get in so easy — like, I had him body-locked, and bro, those are easy finishes for me, when I grab somebody that well. I just felt like I squandered the opportunity. I kind of took him lightly, I would say. I underestimated him. I was like, ‘I’m going to squash this guy easily.’
“When I say I underestimate people, I don’t disrespect people, I just feel like I got their number. So I’m like, ‘I’ve got this guy’s number, no problem.’ So I kind of underestimated where I needed to be and my cardio wasn’t up there,” Brunson continued. “I was training at home with soccer moms, soccer dads, firemen, police officers and stuff like that, so those were my training partners — the guys who weren’t full-time martial artists. So I’m up here smoking these guys in the gym, and I go into the fight and I’m not ready for this high-level guy that’s in front of me who’s got a lot of feints, a good style that’s going to be scrambling.”
Derek Brunson then made the move to Sanford MMA where he has rallied off five straight wins and is now set to face Jared Cannonier at UFC 270. If he wins, he would set up a rematch with Adesanya, which Brunson knows would go differently.