Derek Brunson stuns Chris Leben with wrestling in his UFC debut

Derek Brunson made the move over from Strikeforce to take a short notice fight against Chris Leben and made the best of it.

Many people thought Leben would walk through Brunson on the first fight of the UFC 155 PPV card. However, in the first round we saw Brunson control the top position for the almost the entire round. He moved from guard to half guard to mount and brutalized Leben during the first stanza.

After a feeling out process, Brunson once again took Leben down. When they got back to their feet, Brunson dominated Leben with some great punching combos.

Very early in the third Brunson landed another takedown and at this point he’s landed 3 of 8 attempts. Midway through the 3rd round Brunson’s gas tank had depleted significantly and he glanced at the clock every thirty seconds. In the end wrestling killed Leben.

Check out quotes below from both fighters.

Derek Brunson:

“I knew the type of fight I was getting myself into when I agreed to the bout. Leben is an all out slugger. I wanted to prove to myself that I could fight this guy and not just wrestle him for the victory. I wanted to go at it with him, but maintain my game plan and fight my fight. I started slowing down in the second round and I feel that’s just a matter of taking the fight and training for it on such short notice. Overall, I feel like I’m getting better, but I know I have a long way to go to compete in the UFC’s middleweight division.”

Chris Leben:

“Hats off to Derek. He beat me the only way he could. I know what a Jackson’s MMA fighter’s game plan was going to be and those guys have gotten very good at it. Those guys have gotten good at punching while backing up. I let him hit me a few times so that I could counterstrike with him and get him to trade with me, but he was able to just hold me down for the majority of the fight.”




  1. Brunson didn’t “brutalize” Leben nor land any “great punching combos”. All he did was throw weak punches then go for takedowns and gas after the first round. Unfortunately, Leben also seemed to have gassed from being taken down so it was a boring, frustrating fight to watch. Brunson should be fired and Leben should retire.


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