Then, on a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Brunson said he felt like his luck was getting worse this year after he was pulled off TUF.
"It's a nightmare," Brunson said "Throughout the day I'm like, man, that was the worst-case scenario that actually happened.
"This has not been my year," he said. "What can happen? Nothing, nothing good at this point can happen. I'm thinking all the things that could go possibly wrong are going on at this point."
But just hours before New Year's Day, Brunson can turn his nightmare into a dream. Amazingly, he will be the first Strikeforce fighter to make his UFC debut since it was reported that Strikeforce will fold following its Jan. 12 event.
The Leben vs. Brunson tilt is expected to kick off the pay-per-view, which will be headlined by Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight title, from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.