Monday, May 16, 2022

Brunson Lays Out Retirement Plan: Beat Cannonier, Beat Izzy, Peace Out

UFC middleweight Derek Brunson has revealed he’s planning on retiring after two more appearances inside the Octagon.

Brunson’s recent form has certainly been one of the more surprising stories of resurgence in recent memory. Entering 2019, the North Carolina native, who’s been a part of the UFC roster since 2012, was 2-4.

A pair of two-fight skids, which featured defeats to reigning champion Israel Adesanya, former titleholder Robert Whittaker, GOAT contender Anderson Silva, and Brazilian grappling legend Ronaldo Souza, were separated by triumphs over Dan Kelly and Lyoto Machida.

But since being finished by “The Last Stylebender,” Brunson has built an impressive five-fight win streak that has seen him climb to within touching distance of a title shot.

After rebounding with wins against Elias Theodorou and Ian Heinisch, Brunson hit the form of his life following his transition to the now-infamous “Blonde Brunson.” Since making the hair alteration, the 38-year-old has finished Edmen Shahbazyan and Darren Till and outpointed Kevin Holland, all three of which came in main event contests.

Having firmly placed himself in the title picture, “Blonde Brunson” will hope to maintain his unbeaten run against Jared Cannonier at UFC 271 this weekend, and secure a second clash with Adesanya, this time with gold on the line.

Brunson Wants To Ride Out On Top

While he may be on the best run he’s had across his decade in the promotion, Brunson is still planning on hanging up his gloves soon.

During his appearance at UFC 271 media day, the #4-ranked middleweight was asked whether he’ll be content waiting for a title shot if Adesanya and Whittaker, who are set to headline this Saturday’s pay-per-view card, complete a trilogy later this year.

After confirming that a championship opportunity is the only fight he’ll accept if he’s victorious over Cannonier, Brunson laid out his retirement plan, and it’s one that is perhaps further along than most would have expected.

“I’m gonna sit and wait for a title fight after I win this fight. For sure. I’ve done everything I needed to do in this division,” said Brunson. “Honestly, I plan on fighting two more times. I feel like I’m lucky and blessed to like, fight in the UFC 20 times, and I’m super smart and got a good brain in my head, so I don’t wanna fight until I can’t fight no more. I’m in the best shape. I’m feeling good. So that’s all I’m thinking about right now; beat Cannonier, beat Izzy, and riding out. That’s it.”

Brunson went on to confirm that regardless of the situation, he’s limiting himself to two more Octagon outings. He cited his desire for more family time and his target of retiring without accumulating significant damage as the reasons behind his decision.

“Just two more times. You know, I spend a lot of time getting ready for these fights away from my family and stuff, and I’m 38,” Brunson continued. “I’m missing like, soccer games and stuff like that for my daughters. So, that’s more important to me than chasing money and stuff like that. I’ve been smart with my money, made enough money.

“I have no excuses. I’m in really good shape. I feel really good. I’m motivated. I don’t even plan on losing. But I just know that you can’t do combat sports forever, and end peacefully. I feel like I’ve got a super good brain, my head is good, no injuries, nothing. I think finish my goal, finish my task, complete the mission, get the title, and be like, ‘Peace, I’m out,'” Brunson concluded.

With toes dipping in the realms of real estate, gym ownership, fight promotion, and management, Brunson certainly won’t be short of new ventures and exciting possibilities moving forward when he does call an end to his fighting career.

Do you think Derek Brunson has what it takes to beat Jared Cannonier and dethrone Israel Adesanya?

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