Derek Brunson aims to earn title shot with Darren Till win – and avoid becoming a meme

LASVEGAS – Derek Brunson understands that there is much at stake with his UFC Fight Night 191 headliner with Darren Till , and it doesn’t all boil down to where he will be in the rankings.

With Till well-known as one of the biggest trolls in the sport on social media, Brunson doesn’t intend to give Till ammunition.

” “It’s all fun, games,” Brunson said about the pair’s prefight banter. “We had a lot of fun, took our jabs at one another. It’s now fight week. It’s business time. The goal is not to become a meme.

Brunson (22-7 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and Till (18-3-1 MMA, 6-3-1 UFC) headline Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 191 event, which takes place at the UFC Apex and streams live on ESPN+. Brunson is ranked No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie middleweight rankings and Till checking in at No. 10.

But this is a big moment for Brunson, who has a winning streak of four fights and is now the headliner at his third consecutive UFC event.

” “This is definitely the best stretch in my career,” Brunson stated to MMA Junkie. “We’re fighting these young, energetic, hungry men who’ve been putting on streaks, earning a fight with a tough, veteran .”

While Till has been a marketable fighter in the promotion, thanks in no small part to his bold presence , Till’s social media presence “The Gorilla” is in dire need of a positive outcome after suffering through a 1-3 stretch in recent months – even though against top competition.

Brunson stated that it is important to evaluate an opponent not only based on wins and losses but also the performances in those contests.

” I watched a lot Darren Till – you’re aware, he can be very tricky,” Brunson stated. “In this game you’re going win some, and you’re also going to lose some – but the goal is to win more than you lose – and I wouldn’t say all his losses were straight, like he was annihilated. He was winning the fight, but he was caught. These are the things I take from a fight. I take it apart and examine it as a puzzle. Then, I understand his skill set and plan it with that .”

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Meme worries aside, Brunson’s future is at stake in this contest. He’s 37, not old, but he can’t wait to win any title fight. Brunson believes that he is the right man to fight for the middleweight title between Israel Adesanya, former titleholder, and Robert Whittaker. Brunson has an impressive win here.

“I am definitely considering it as a potential No. 1 contender fight,” Brunson stated. “Just being with my past performances – you know, four fights against these guys that were supposed be competing for titles. If I didn’t give these guys the hiccups then they would be talking all about these guys fighting to win titles.

” I mean, they were talking about Ian Heinisch. He comes in and looks great early and everyone was talking about the youngest champion. I sat down. Then (Kevin Holland) came in five times in succession. I beat him, his trash talk was already directed at ‘Izzy’ so that it looked like a fight that would be 100 percent made, so I put that down. I think that if I come out here and finish Till, five consecutive wins should be my next after ‘Izzy” and Whittaker .”

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Nothing is guaranteed in UFC. Title shots are not always guaranteed because of winning streaks. However, a strong performance would be a great help.

” I’m going do my thing, show my progress, and then take my time to let the fight develop,” Brunson stated. “I’m looking for the finish, but I’m not in hurry.

“Till said he wants to finish the fight in the first round. If you’d like to fight like that, I’m fine with him bringing it up and pushing the pace. I’m happy with how the fight goes. I want to finish the fight and show everyone that I’m next .”

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