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Derek Brunson nixes retirement plans, wants four fights in 2023

It looks like ‘Blonde Brunson’ is here to stay for a while. 

Derek Brunson at weigh-ins for UFC 271 in February.
Derek Brunson at weigh-ins for UFC 271 in February.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Derek Brunson planned on ‘beating [Jared] Cannonier, beating Israel [Adesanya] and riding out’ for his final two UFC fights.

That plan has changed.

Following his second-round TKO loss to Cannonier at UFC 271 this past February, Brunson said he would ‘pick himself up for one more fight,’ which saw him paired up against Jack Hermansson at UFC Orlando in December. An undisclosed injury forced him to withdraw, however.

Though he ended 2022 with one fight, Brunson has revealed he wants four (!) of them in 2023.

“Four fights in 2023, LFG,” wrote Brunson on Twitter. “Where should we start!”

One option for Brunson is Hermansson, who said he was still interested in sharing the Octagon with him after UFC Orlando. The ‘Joker’ suffered a second-round TKO loss to Roman Dolidze, who filled in for Brunson as the short-notice replacement.

“Derek is still there, so maybe that will be a good fight next, so we will see,” said Hermansson at his pre-fight press conference.

Another option is Caio Borralho, the Contender Series graduate who wants to be ‘welcomed into the rankings’ after a fight with Brunson. The perennial contender said yes, but only if the Brazilian can ‘crack the top ten’ soon.

There is no word on when Brunson expects to return to the Octagon, but when he does, the 38-year-old wants to be as busy as possible.

Prior to the Cannonier loss, Brunson was on a five-fight win streak that included names such as Edmen Shahbazyan, Kevin Holland and Darren Till.