The UFC is wrapping up a middleweight fight between Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson in January, multiple sources told ESPN.
The 185-pound fight will take place on January 22. The UFC has not defined a location for that card, which is expected to be a UFC 270 pay-per-view.
The fight could very well determine a future challenger to the middleweight title. Cannonier (14-5) and Brunson (23-7) rank No. 3 and No. 4 in the division, respectively, according to the UFC rankings. It could also fall on the same undercard as the next middleweight title fight, as UFC president Dana White has stated that he wants to sign Israel Adesanya against Robert Whittaker in January.
Dallas’ Cannonier is 4-1 in his last five bouts, including a decision win over Kelvin Gastelum in August. His only loss during that time was against Whittaker, in a three-round decision in October 2020. The 37-year-old has only fought once in each of the past two calendar years, but will have his first fight of 2022 early. of the year.
Brunson of North Carolina has won five fights in a row and eliminated several of the best prospects in that span. Also 37, Brunson’s last three victories have come against highly touted opponents like Edmen Shahbazyan, Kevin Holland and Darren Till.