Derek Brunson and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza have history in the octagon.
The two battled in August 2012 at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman in San Diego. At the time, Brunson was only two years into his mixed martial arts career.
“I was just a young, really green fighter coming out of college,” said Brunson, who will fight Souza again Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. “l was a guy that was fresh in the sport who was ahead of schedule.”
Souza humbled Brunson in their first meeting, winning by knockout just 41 seconds into the first round.
“I was a little young and overzealous, wanting to make a statement, and didn’t take my time,” said Brunson.
In preparation for Saturday’s fight, Brunson watched Souza’s latest fight.
“He’s the same fighter, and I am a different guy,” said Brunson. “I have grown a lot and have different skills in all facets of martial arts, and to me, he has stayed the same. He’s a guy that likes to work the takedown and work his Jiu Jitsu.”
“It’s another one of those fights that I think that Derek can finish standing up,” said Dre Herd, who trains Brunson. “I think Jacare is looking to take it down, but he could be looking to strike. I am comfortable there and Derek is comfortable there.”
A victory for Brunson (18-5) could get him closer to his ultimate goal.
“A win here would move me to the top. I feel I am right there,” said Brunson. “I could get the next title shot so a huge statement is needed.”
Saturday’s fights can be seen on Fox Wilmington.
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