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Morning Report: Jared Cannonier shoots down Derek Brunson’s call for a title shot, Brunson responds

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This past weekend, Derek Brunson submitted Darren Till in the main event of UFC Vegas 36. The win was Brunson’s fifth in a row and afterwards Brunson called for a title shot against the winner of the Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker rematch that is expected to take place sometime this year. But though many agree Brunson has done enough to finally earn a shot at the title, not everyone is on the same page, including fellow middleweight contender Jared Cannonier.

Cannonier is coming off of a unanimous decision win over Kelvin Gastelum last month and is currently ranked one spot higher than Brunson in the UFC’s rankings (though he is two spots behind him in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings). Given his position and the fact that he himself is coming off a win as well, Cannonier believes that Brunson’s call for a title shot is premature.

“I understand his stance,” Cannonier told Submission Radio. “He’s been doing this for a long time, he hasn’t had his title shot, he was close to his title shot, and then he ran into Izzy and now he’s on his way. I don’t think he’s in a position to wait for a title shot, to be honest. He’s No. 5, he beat No. 7. I don’t think that does much. I think that just solidifies your position right there at contendership. I don’t think it makes you the No. 1 contender. So, if he wants to be certified officially the No. 1 contender, he’d fight me. And then he can sit around and wait and be guaranteed the title shot.

“As far as if I wait and he waits, I’m getting the title shot first. If you look at the rankings, that’s just how it is. I mean, to be honest, I’m waiting for them to call me. And if he says no, he won’t be the first one to say no to a fight with me. A bunch of these guys say no to me, a lot of these guys in the top of the division have said no to me. So, I’m not surprised.

“Naturally, cause I’m ahead of him in the rankings. My resume of who I beat, the last four guys, got four wins in the division. The last four guys who I beat have all been better than the guys that he’s beat. I know he’s on a winning streak, but my four out of five wins are better than his five out of what, five?”

Unsurprisingly, Brunson does not agree with Cannonier, dismissing his statement via social media.

It should be noted that, as Brunson points out, Cannonier’s recent win is just the beginning of a streak and that win came against Gastelum, who is ranked lower than Darren Till in both the UFC and MMA Fighting rankings. Of course, the simplest way to solve this dispute would be to have the two men fight for it, which may make sense seeing how Adesanya-Whittaker 2 still has not even been announced, and Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori are set to face each other in the main even of UFC Vegas 41 next month. Given all that, Cannonier says he’s fine with facing Brunson if it’s a No. 1 contender bout.

“Well, of course the winner of Costa and Vettori is a more clear-cut contender,” Cannonier said. “That’s one versus two. But if they called and said Derek Brunson [in a] contenders match, this is for the next title shot, we’re not thinking about Vettori and thing, they’re going to be after you, then yeah, I’m accepting that fight.”

And should the two face off inside the cage for the right to fight for the belt, Cannonier feels pretty good about his chances to secure the title shot.

“I’m sure I have the striking advantage and I’m sure he believes that he’s got the wrestling advantage,” Cannonier concluded. “But I don’t think his offensive wrestling’s better than my defensive wrestling. So, he may be able to take me down, but can he keep me there? Can he do that for five rounds? Can he? And if you ask me, I’m naturally going to say, no he can’t. He’ll probably have a different answer. But that’s my answer. He probably wouldn’t be able to do that against me and I beat him, and maybe take him down and ground and pound him out.”


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Brunson won’t like it (nor should he) but it seems inevitable that we’re going to get a Brunson-Cannonier number-one contender fight later this year.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



Who do you think wins?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Derek Brunson
    (328 votes)
  • 56%
    Jared Cannonier
    (429 votes)
757 votes total Vote Now

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