Derek Brunson recovered from broken jaw, hoping for August return

Brunson hopes to be celebrating again soon.

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The last time UFC middleweight Derek Brunson walked into the cage, he was just minutes away from leaving with a win over hyped prospect Yoel Romero. He’d won both of the first two rounds and was cruising midway through the third until Romero’s power made a thudding arrival, leading to a finish and, unfortunately, a broken jaw for Brunson.

The injury necessitated surgery, but after a few months on the sidelines, Brunson is now officially on the comeback trail, telling FOX Sports that he hopes to return around August. 

That timeline is in order to follow doctor’s advice that he wait about six months from the date of his surgery to compete again. His broken jaw originally occurred on Jan. 15.

Brunson (11-3) was cleared to train in April and has resumed all fight-related activity with the hope of a summertime date.

"I’m not a big sparrer originally, but I have sparred a few times, got hit and the jaw is fine," he told FOX Sports.

The 30-year-old, who had won his first two in the UFC before losing the heartbreaker to Romero, says he’s crafting a game plan for longevity, and is looking for a return match with someone outside of the UFC’s top 15 rankings before working his way up. 

"I figure I can be champ in two years," he said.

Brunson’s past UFC wins have come over Chris Leben and Brian Houston.