WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington's Derek Brunson has always been involved in sports.
"Yes, I was a sports guy," said Brunson. "In high school (at Hoggard) my senior year, I decided to play a lot of sports. I did football, wrestling, and track."
But there was one sport the future mixed martial artist participated in his entire high school career: cheerleading.
"It was fun," said Brunson. "People didn't give me too hard of a time."
According to Brunson, being on the cheer team brought positive attention.
"All of the football players wanted to hang out because obviously there are a lot of girls in cheerleading," said Brunson. "They always wanted to hang out with us and see what we were doing."
During his time cheering, Brunson learned skills that have carried over into his career in the octagon.
"Cheerleading is a unique thing," Brunson said. "I was more of a competitive cheerleader, so we did a lot of tumbling and tossing girls in the air, and holding them up with one hand. It took a lot of attention to details and a lot of strength and a lot of training and practice."
Brunson will next fight in the main event of UFC Fight Night at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on Jan. 27 against Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. The fights can be seen on Fox Wilmington.