Derek Brunson has drawn first blood ahead of his UFC 208 matchup with Anderson Silva, claiming the Spider knows he will get KO’d if he chooses to taunt him mid-fight.
Brunson, whose last fight ended in a stoppage defeat to the Australian Robert Whittaker in November, is now looking to bounce back from that loss with a win over one of the pound-for-pound greatest of all time, Anderson Silva.
Silva’s long-lasting reign atop the middleweight division was brought to a swift but conclusive finish by the All-American Chris Weidman in 2013 and ever since then, the Spider hasn’t looked anywhere even close to the fighter he once was, with his only recorded win – a decision victory over Nick Diaz – now ruled as a ‘no-contest’ due to him testing positive for both drostanolone and androsterone in the pre-fight drug-test.
For years the crafty-striker took apart every single fighter the UFC placed in front of him, dazzling his opponents with his own unique combination of accurate and unpredictable attacks and his very loose, almost playful approach to the art of fighting. And yet, when all was said and done as far as his peak years were concerned, it was the theatrical nature of Silva’s performance that proved to be his downfall, with him misjudging the reach of the aforementioned Weidman mid-taunt, causing him to take a huge left-hand to the chin and his first UFC loss as a result.
At 41, it’s fair to say that Silva’s time in the sport is limited but despite him now reaching his twilight years, he still finds himself facing the very best that the middleweight – and indeed the light-heavyweight divisions have to offer.
Derek Brunson, despite his own recent setback, has established himself as a very dangerous threat to anyone in the 185lb division right now, as evidenced by his 7-2 record in the promotion as well as his impressive stoppage wins over the likes of Uriah Hall, Roan Carneiro and Sam Alvey. Brunson hits hard, and in a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on this week’s edition of the MMA Hour he showed us all that there are no doubts in his mind over what would happen to the former-champ Silva if he engaged in any of his patented ‘showboating’ mid-fight.
“He’s not going to be doing what he did against Weidman. And he won’t be doing what it looked like he did against Cormier. He had nothing to lose against Cormier, so he went into that fight completely out of shape. I don’t expect him out there dropping his hands, pulling his head back because if one of these punches catches you on the chin, it’s lights out.”
“I expect the best Anderson Silva and I don’t think he will play with me, I don’t think he will toy with me like he does other guys because I can explode in and touch his chin. All it takes is one shot and I am sure his camp is like, ‘This guy can crack you.”
Brunson’s power is unquestionable at this stage but in Silva, we have a very interesting situation on our hands. It’s hard to know exactly how much he has left in the tank and in his next fight, he will be pitting himself against a younger, hungrier man who will be going out there with a point to prove.
A lot of fighters who have that ‘legendary’ status end their careers with a big target on their back and with Brunson looking to re-establish himself among the top-contenders at 185lb, Silva will go into this bout facing a daunting challenge but indeed one where a win could perhaps do wonders in expelling the memories of some of his more tame performances in recent times.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena