Elias Theodorou has often described himself as a tough puzzle to solve, but he would not cast Derek Brunson in the same light.
Theodorou had plenty to say about his UFC Ottawa opponent when speaking to MMA Fighting and other press at a scrum on Thursday. In particular, Theodorou was dismissive of Brunson’s recent training sessions with world-renowned striking coach Henri Hooft at Hard Knocks 365 in Florida.
“I would argue that experience goes a long way, but there is the old statement ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ I think that is very much the case. If you’ve seen one Derek Brunson fight you’ve seen them all,” he said. “With that being said, I respect him both as an athlete and as a mixed martial artist. He is a great wrestler, but I’ve competed against great wrestlers before. I fought Trevor Smith who is a D1 wrestler instead of Derek Brunson who is D2. A lot of his wrestling goes out of the window the more it doesn’t work.”
That would not be the last time the ranked Canadian fighter took a jab at his fellow middleweight.
“There is a deep contrast between the two of us,” Theodorou shared. “I’m on a three-fight winning streak and after Saturday he’ll be on a three-fight losing streak.”
The Tristar product also touched on his teammate Rory MacDonald’s headline-grabbing post-fight speech. Following MacDonald’s draw vs. Jon Fitch at Bellator 220, MacDonald showed doubt in his will to fight. He has since elaborated on those comments and expressed no intention of retiring.
“I don’t think he is necessarily struggling,” Theodorou shared. “I think the confusion of going to a draw and going through a five-round fith against a gritty fighter.”
“It was an honest and raw post-fight interview. Every fighter goes through that through some capacity,” he continued. “It’s my belief that we’re all different shades of pink monkeys trying to convince ourselves we’re not pink monkeys.”
Theodorou fights Brunson in the co-main event of UFC Ottawa on Saturday, May 4.