As far as Jared Cannonier is concerned, he’s still the number one contender.
Cannonier is coming off a unanimous decision win over Kelvin Gastelum last month to cement himself as arguably the next in line after Israel Adesanya takes on Robert Whittaker in their highly-anticipated rematch.
However, one person who got himself in the mix was Derek Brunson who made it five wins in a row with an impressive submission victory over Darren Till this past weekend at UFC Vegas 36.
Shortly afterwards, he called for a rematch with Adesanya in what would be his first-ever UFC title shot at the age of 37 should he get his way.
Cannonier, however, doesn’t believe Brunson has much of a claim.
“I understand his stance,” Cannonier told Submission Radio. “He’s been doing this for a long time, he hasn’t had his title shot, he was close to his title shot, and then he ran into Izzy and now he’s on his way.
“I don’t think he’s in a position to wait for a title shot, to be honest. He’s number five, he beat number seven. I don’t think that does much. I think that just solidifies your position right there at contendership. I don’t think it makes you the number-one contender.”
Cannonier: Brunson Needs To Fight Me For A Title Shot
Cannonier’s reasoning is that if he decided to wait along with Brunson, the UFC would probably award him the next crack at the title.
That is why he feels Brunson has to fight him if he truly wants to be the number one contender.
“So, if he wants to be certified officially the number one contender, he’d fight me,” Cannonier added. “And then he can sit around and wait and be guaranteed the title shot. But as far as if I wait and he waits, I’m getting the title shot first. If you look at the rankings, that’s just how it is. I mean, to be honest, I’m waiting for them to call me. And if he says no, he won’t be the first one to say no to a fight with me. A bunch of these guys say no to me, a lot of these guys in the top of the division have said no to me. So, I’m not surprised.
“Naturally, cause I’m ahead of him in the rankings. My resume of who I beat, the last four guys, got four wins in the division. The last four guys who I beat have all been better than the guys that he’s beat. I know he’s on a winning streak, but my four out of five wins are better than his five out of what, five?”
That said, Cannonier will only fight Brunson if he is guaranteed that a win will get him the next shot. Otherwise, he feels fighting the winner of the Paulo Costa vs. Marvin Vettori fight makes more sense.
“Well, of course the winner of Costa and Vettori is a more clear-cut contender. That’s one versus two,” Cannonier said. “But if they called and said Derek Brunson [in a] contenders match, this is for the next tile shot, we’re not thinking about Vettori and thing, they’re going to be after you, then yeah, I’m accepting that fight.”
You can watch the full interview below: