Brunson entered the current 185-pound top-five after extending his winning streak to four in his last appearance. In his second consecutive UFC main event, the 37-year-old met Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 22 earlier this year. With an imposing and dominant performance, Brunson secured back-to-back headlining wins, and entered the championship conversation.
Having defeated “Trail Blazer,” Edmen Shahbazyan, Ian Heinisch, and Elias Theodorou, Brunson is undefeated since his loss to current UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya, and is certainly making a late career surge for gold.
Despite boasting an impressive 22-7 record that includes victories over the likes of Lyoto Machida and Uriah Hall, many in the MMA community have considered Brunson to be a middleweight gatekeeper.
In a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Marc Raimondi, Brunson rejected the idea that he cares about the public perception of him, and suggested that his impressive resume is the only response he needs.
“I don’t pay attention to that stuff anymore. My job is to go out there and get the job done. My overall goal is to keep being the best version of myself, and to keep getting better and better. That’s more my focus these days than worrying about what people think or how people perceive me. It is what it is. My resume speaks for itself,” added Brunson. “What is my record, 22-7? And I’ve been pretty…I lost two fights that I should have won. So, that would’ve had me 23-5, and that’s pretty much a Hall of Fame, you know, resume right there.”
Since debuting in the UFC back in 2012, Brunson has only lost to the best middleweights in the division. His five losses in the promotion came against current 185-pound kingpin Adesanya, former champions Anderson Silva and Robert Whittaker, Brazilian legend Ronaldo Souza, and former title challenger Yoel Romero.
According to the North Carolina native, his strength of schedule is certainly within the three most impressive in the sport of MMA, along with two other active UFC middleweights.
“If you had some, like, metrics where you had strength of schedule (measured), I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be up there. And I think middleweights, you know, myself, Whittaker, and (Kelvin) Gastelum, you know, if you go strength of schedule throughout your whole career, we’re gonna be the top three guys out of the whole of MMA.”
Brunson, who in the same interview included himself in the top-five middleweights over the last decade, is set to complete his hat-trick of consecutive main events this weekend at UFC Vegas 36 when he looks to stake his claim for a title shot against England’s Darren Till.
Do you think Derek Brunson has one of the most impressive strength of schedules in MMA?