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Why Did UFC Remove Derek Brunson From The Main Roster?

9 months ago By Sports Desk

In a surprising turn of events, UFC veteran Derek Brunson has bid farewell to the promotion that he called home for over a decade. This departure has left fans and pundits speculating about the reasons behind the UFC’s decision to remove Brunson from its main roster. In this article, we will delve into the important dates and key factors that contributed to this unexpected development.

The Rise and Fall of Derek Brunson

Derek Brunson, often referred to as “The One,” was a prominent middleweight contender in the UFC. Born on January 4, 1984, in Wilmington, North Carolina, Brunson’s journey to promotion had its share of highs and lows. Standing at 6 feet 1 inch and weighing 186 pounds, he possessed an impressive reach of 77 inches, making him a formidable presence in the middleweight division.

Brunson’s wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu backgrounds, coupled with his southpaw stance, made him a challenging opponent for anyone in his weight class. He joined the UFC in 2012 after competing in various regional promotions and Strikeforce. Over the years, he amassed a record of 23 wins and 9 losses in MMA, with a notable 14-7 UFC record.

The Highs: A Streak of Success

One of the highlights of Derek Brunson’s career was his remarkable five-fight winning streak in the UFC. During this period, he defeated renowned fighters like Kevin Holland and Darren Till, showcasing his potential for a title shot.

The Lows: Two Consecutive Defeats

However, this winning streak was followed by two devastating losses. First, Jared Cannonier handed Brunson a knockout defeat, and then Dricus Du Plessis repeated the feat. These back-to-back losses left Brunson’s career at a crossroads.

The Surprising Departure:

On September 15, 2023, Derek Brunson’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA, confirmed the surprising news: Brunson and the UFC had mutually parted ways. Brunson, who had been under the UFC umbrella for 11 years, was now a free agent.

Brunson’s manager expressed gratitude to the UFC for the opportunities they provided throughout Brunson’s career. He acknowledged Brunson’s presence in the top 10 rankings for the last seven years. The UFC undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping Brunson’s MMA journey.

Reasons behind the departure:

While the exact reasons for Derek Brunson’s departure remain undisclosed, several factors may have contributed to this decision:

1. Two Consecutive Losses: Brunson’s recent defeats may have affected his standing in the middleweight division and reduced his chances of securing a title shot in the near future.

2. Contract Negotiations: Failed contract negotiations might have played a role in the split. The specifics of these negotiations are not public, but financial considerations often factor into such decisions.

3. Pursuing Other Opportunities: Derek Brunson’s departure coincided with reports of his interest in a potential bout with YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul. This suggests that he may be exploring opportunities beyond MMA.

4. Aging Fighter: At 39 years old, Brunson may have decided that it’s the right time to explore new horizons or consider retirement.

Derek Brunson’s departure from the UFC marks the end of an era for the veteran middleweight contender. While the exact reasons behind this surprising move remain speculative, factors like consecutive losses, contract negotiations, and the pursuit of alternative opportunities likely played a role.

Regardless of the circumstances, Brunson’s legacy in the UFC is undeniable. His journey from regional promotions to the top tier of MMA is a testament to his dedication and skill. As he embarks on a new chapter in his career, fans and pundits will be eager to see where “The One” lands next in the world of combat sports.

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