Derek Brunson got back in the win column at UFC Auckland, making short work of Daniel Kelly with a first round finish of the local favorite. After the bout, he spoke to reporters at the UFC post-fight press conference, and while he was elated with the win, it’s clear Brunson still isn’t thrilled about his loss to middleweight great Anderson Silva.
On how he felt with the win against Kelly, Brunson said “I felt good” but then jumped immediately to his previous bout, at UFC 208 against “The Spider.”
“I was sitting home a lot after the Anderson [fight], after the Whittaker [fight], questioning myself a lot. I go from five first round stoppages, five wins in a row in the first round, and I lose that fight with Whittaker just being overzealous, really trying to hunt for a title shot as opposed to just being a part of the process” he explained. “Then I go and take a short notice fight against Anderson, feel I did enough to get the win, don’t get the win there, so it definitely sucked being at home for a while.”
Later, he would explain that the Silva fight “left such a sour taste in my mouth, because when you got out here and you fight, whether the fight is fun, exciting, or a snoozer, before that, out of my six fights, five were ended in the first round.” He continued, suggesting that going to the judges was the big problem — and that he wasn’t judged fairly. “So if I go against Anderson and it’s a decision, it’s a bad fight, so what? I performed five or six fights. I think it should be judged fairly. When you go into [the Silva fight], and you look at the stats, it’s very clear. The guy barely hit me in that fight. I hit him, I took him down, he defended some of my takedowns, but I definitely should have got that decision.”
Spider aside, one interesting note from UFC Auckland was how patient Brunson looked. In past fights, Brunson paid dearly for rushing in. So what changed? “This Derek stopped being so stupid. I’ve been sitting at home moping for months, like ‘God I was stupid!’ I wake up in the middle of the night, I wake up in the morning thinking like ‘man that was stupid'” the fighter recalled. “Just thinking of the previous fights, that was just stupid.”
“Set it up, take your time” is the lesson he has since learned.
The win, however, was anything but. So what’s next? Brunson had mentioned Antonio Carlos Jr. in his post-fight interview in the cage (though he accidentally called the fighter “Antonio Carlos Silva” — showing just how much that UFC 208 fight has got to him). He reiterated interest in that fight at the press conference, saying “At this point, I just want to get out there, get more experience.”