After plenty of back-and-forth between Derek Brunson and Israel Adesanya, the two talented Middleweights were booked to face off at the upcoming UFC 230 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Nov. 3, 2018 inside Madison Square Garden in New York.
While Adesanya has quickly caught the eye of many in the mixed martial arts (MMA) as possibly the next big thing, Derek isn’t buying the hype, saying that for being a boxer his striking attack is nothing to go crazy over.
“A lot of people are high on (Adesanya), a lot of people believe in him, but I’m not too much of a believer. I can’t trick myself. Every fight I train for the opponent very hard and smart. I’ll do that for myself. But I’m not a believer in the kid. I think he’s a good striker. I don’t think he’s a great striker,” said Derek on a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show via ESPN.
“I’m not a guy who is going to let you dictate or do whatever you want to,” Brunson says. “I’m not impressed by this kid. His striking is okay. He’s long, which is the best thing going for him. Doesn’t hit hard. This is the fight I like. One of the easiest matchups I’ll have in the UFC. One of the easiest people to prepare for,” he added. “He’s bad on the ground. His wrestling isn’t good. I see holes in his game. He’s a little frail guy. I think I’ll get the finish early.”
Still, one can’t deny what Israel has done in his MMA stint thus far, winning 14 straight fights with no defeats, including his first three UFC bouts. Still, Derek says he would’ve even helped Israel develop his overall MMA game, but since he decided to badmouth him, he’s now going to have to feel his wrath.
”If the guy would have just shut his mouth, I would have helped him out. But now I’m going to beat him up.”
Derek is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Ronaldo Souza earlier this year, so a win over the streaking Adesanya will do wonders for his bid to get back into the mix in a highly-competitive middleweight division.
For Isreal, a win over the longtime veteran puts him on the fast track for bigger matchups.