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UFC Charlotte preview: Derek Brunson erased his Strikeforce loss to Jacare Souza — ‘It never occurred’

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Brunson vs Machida Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

If life begins at 40, then career begins at 30.

That’s how old Derek Brunson was when middleweight veteran Ronaldo Souza creamed him at Strikeforce: “Rousey vs. Kaufman” back in summer 2012, a first-round knockout that ended in just 41 seconds.

Never happened, as far as Brunson is concerned.

“I’m not even worried about that fight. In my mind, that fight never occurred,” he told “I was very green in the sport and I was ahead of schedule. I had to fight the top guys because I was going out there and steamrolling everybody, even though my skills weren’t up to par back then.”

They’ll run it back in the UFC on FOX 27 headliner this Sat. night (Jan. 27, 2018), inside Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina (full fight card here).

After a shady decision loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 208, Brunson (18-5) roared back with consecutive knockout wins over Daniel Kelly and Lyoto Machida, which took less than four minutes of work combined.

Souza (24-5, 1 NC), meanwhile, is looking to rebound from his technical knockout loss to division kingpin Robert Whittaker last April, but his position may still be high enough to springboard Brunson into contention.

“If I go out there and waste the No. 3 guy in my division, I’m thinking that’s deserving of a title shot, especially being that you have the No. 1 and No. 2 going at it,” he continued. “I’m definitely carrying some title aspirations because the way I fight and the way I finish guys, that should definitely bring me a title shot, for sure.”

We’ll find out this weekend in the five-round main event.

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