Derek Brunson is planning on knocking out Anderson Silva in the co-main event at UFC 208, as he aims to reestablish his own title credentials in the red-hot middleweight division.
A self-confessed fan of the Brazilian great, Brunson actually disregards the fact ‘The Spider’ doesn’t have a win on his record since October 2012, putting four losses and one no contest on Anderson’s once astounding record down to a run of bad fortune and poor judging.
Anderson surrendered the middleweight belt to Chris Weidman, suffering back-to-back stoppage losses. Then saw a win over Nick Diaz overturned after failing a PED test, before losing a debated points decision to Michael Bisping. And, most recently, losing on points in a late notice matchup against light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
Brunson says: “Anderson lost to Michael Bisping, in a close fight. He actually knocked him out with a knee and it was kind of a little controversial with that. He broke his leg in one fight. He dropped his hands which he typically does. But even in that fight, I’ve always watched Anderson Silva and I always liked his fighting style.
“Even when he fought Chris Weidman the first time, I was like really? Like when is this fight going to get started? He kind of kept his hands down toying with him. I guess he wasn’t really intimidated by Chris Weidman’s speed and then Chris Weidman caught him with a crazy combination. So, me looking at the situation – I throw all those losses out.
“I’m looking at, I’m fighting a guy who is not as fast as he used to be, but this guy has all of the skills in the world. And considered the best fighter of all time.
“So, whereas everybody else is looking at it like losses, I mean, how did he lose? Those fights were all close, and then it was unfortunate events in those fights. So, I think I’m getting a very gamed and ready fighter.”
After winning four straight fights by knockout, Brunson suffered a TKO defeat of his own last time out, when he was dropped by a head kick and finished via ground ’n’ pound against Robert Whittaker in Melbourne, Australia in November. Yet the Wilmington, North Carolina scrapper insists he performs best against talented strikers.
“I was getting greedy,” the 33-year-old says. “I fell in love with trying to knock people out really quickly instead of letting the fight develop. Anderson is a great counter striker, but I’m pretty fast and, you look at my previous fights where I wouldn’t say I was as reckless but, I went in to finish and I definitely knocked guys out. Uriah Hall is on the level of Anderson Silva’s striking. I’m not saying better or less than but another striker. And I was able to knock him out moving forward.”