The factor that swayed Derek Brunson away from the UFC was how fighters can work their way up the organizational ladder.
Brunson will face former PFL champion Ray Cooper III at the 2023 PFL Championship on November 24th. He split from the UFC earlier this year following a long tenure with the promotion; joining other UFC vets like Thiago Santos and Anthony Pettis.
Brunson’s PFL signing was a bit of a surprise after being at the top of the UFC’s middleweight title picture just a few fights ago. But, he’s looking ahead to a new chapter with the PFL and will compete in the league’s light heavyweight season next year.
Despite being a mainstay of the middleweight title layout, Brunson was never granted a title shot over some of the other contenders. He’s appreciative that the PFL allows fighters to control their destiny, especially when competing for $1 million.
Derek Brunson Opens Up On PFL Signing, Upcoming Debut
In an exclusive interview with MMANews, Brunson revealed that the PFL’s meritocracy stood out when pondering his next MMA chapter.
“A big part of me coming to PFL, is I knew that there were no politics when it comes to getting a title shot or getting $1 million,” Brunson answered. “I’ve won fights, I get a million….that’s that. There’s no ‘You didn’t win the fight like I wanted you to’…it’s win and advance.
“We have great fighters over there and it’s an opportunity where they take care of fighters, and it’s competition to other organizations.
While the UFC remains by far the top MMA promotion, its propensity for prioritizing marketing over merit has irked some of its fighters. Superstars such as Conor McGregor, Israel Adesanya, and others have risen the ranks not just because of their elite skillsets, but also for their salesmanship.
Brunson will look to earn his way to the top of the PFL Ladder and prove that the UFC made a mistake by cutting ties.
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