Derek Brunson: Kevin Holland's attempts 'to make it personal' have failed ahead of UFC on ESPN 21

Derek Brunson: Kevin Holland’s attempts ‘to make it personal’ have failed ahead of UFC on ESPN 21

LAS VEGAS – Derek Brunson is not going to play any games.

The UFC middleweight veteran knows better than to fall in the trap and engage in trash talk with his UFC on ESPN 21 opponent, Kevin Holland. Brunson (21-7 MMA, 12-5 UFC) meets Holland (21-5 MMA, 8-2 UFC in the main event of Saturday’s UFC event at UFC Apex, which airs on ESPN folllowing prelims on ESPN2.

Ahead of the card, Holland has fired a few verbal barbs at his opponent on several opportunities, but Brunson has held from firing back – refusing to engage in any real clash, like the one he found himself in ahead of a 2018 clash with Israel Adesanya.

Holland would like to make it personal; he would like to follow the same thing ‘Izzy’ did with the hype, Brunson told reporters at a Wednesday media day ahead of the card. It’s funny, he’s doing the exact same thing ‘Izzy’ did. He’s calling me ‘Bumson,’ and I’m like, ‘Bro, ‘Izzy’ said the same thing. You’re trying to do exactly what he did.’ So I haven’t been engaging with him because I’m going to fight the way I fought my previous couple of fights.

I’m going to look to knock you out regardless, so like I’m not going to be satisfied until I trap your arms and TKO you. That’s how the fight is going to go no matter what is said or how much trash you’re talking. It’s not going to change the way that I fight.

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Brunson has been criticized in the past for fighting too emotional and falling short in circumstances because of his emotion. But the 37-year-old has since brushed off some of those previous defeats and now finds himself with a three-fight winning streak.

Brunson admits Holland wasn’t his top choice for opponent, but he hopes that a win over the rising contender finally gets him a desired top-five opponent. Brunson feels a title shot is near if he gets a big win on Saturday night.

My goal has always been to get that title shot, Brunson explained. I’ve been right there, but it’s been twice where if I would’ve won those fights, I would’ve gotten these title shots, but I didn’t do that. I didn’t perform well. I was a little too aggressive. So yeah, take care of this fight and a big fight is right there. I wouldn’t even be opposed to a title shot. I’d be on a four-fight winning streak.

To see the full availability with Brunson, check out the video above.

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Ahead of the card, Holland has fired a few verbal barbs at his opponent on several opportunities, but Brunson has held from firing back – refusing to engage in any real clash, like the one he found himself in ahead of a 2018 clash with Israel Adesanya.

Holland would like to make it personal; he would like to follow the same thing ‘Izzy’ did with the hype, Brunson told reporters at a Wednesday media day ahead of the card. It’s funny, he’s doing the exact same thing ‘Izzy’ did. He’s calling me ‘Bumson,’ and I’m like, ‘Bro, ‘Izzy’ said the same thing. You’re trying to do exactly what he did.’ So I haven’t been engaging with him because I’m going to fight the way I fought my previous couple of fights.

I’m going to look to knock you out regardless, so like I’m not going to be satisfied until I trap your arms and TKO you. That’s how the fight is going to go no matter what is said or how much trash you’re talking. It’s not going to change the way that I fight.

RELATED

UFC on ESPN 21 poster: Derek Brunson, Kevin Holland stare down the lens ahead of main event clash
UFC free fight: Derek Brunson derails Edmen Shahbazyan’s hype train in Vegas
Brunson has been criticized in the past for fighting too emotional and falling short in circumstances because of his emotion. But the 37-year-old has since brushed off some of those previous defeats and now finds himself with a three-fight winning streak.

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Brunson admits Holland wasn’t his top choice for opponent, but he hopes that a win over the rising contender finally gets him a desired top-five opponent. Brunson feels a title shot is near if he gets a big win on Saturday night.

My goal has always been to get that title shot, Brunson explained. I’ve been right there, but it’s been twice where if I would’ve won those fights, I would’ve gotten these title shots, but I didn’t do that. I didn’t perform well. I was a little too aggressive. So yeah, take care of this fight and a big fight is right there. I wouldn’t even be opposed to a title shot. I’d be on a four-fight winning streak.

To see the full availability with Brunson, check out the video above.

Dwight Ritchie

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