The UFC is finalizing a middleweight bout between Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson in January, multiple sources have told ESPN.
The 185-pound bout will take place on Jan. 22, 2022. The UFC has not finalized a location for that card, which is expected to be a UFC 270 pay-per-view.
The fight could very well determine a future middleweight title challenger. Cannonier (14-5) and Brunson (23-7) are ranked Nos. 3 and 4 in the division, respectively, according to the UFC rankings. It could also fall on the same card as the next middleweight title fight, as UFC president Dana White has stated he wants to book Israel Adesanya versus Robert Whittaker in January.
Cannonier, of Dallas, is 4-1 in his past five, including a decision win against Kelvin Gastelum in August. His only loss during that time came against Whittaker in a three-round decision in October 2020. The 37-year-old has fought only once in each of the past two calendar years but will get his first fight of 2022 in early.
Brunson, of North Carolina, has won five in a row -- and has taken out several top prospects over that span. Also 37, Brunson's past three wins have come against highly touted opponents in Edmen Shahbazyan, Kevin Holland and Darren Till.