Derek Brunson reveals he earned his “biggest payday ever” in PFL debut: “It’s a lot more than the UFC”

By Harry Kettle - January 3, 2024

PFL star Derek Brunson has revealed that he earned a pretty nice payday in his debut for the promotion.

Derek Brunson

For so many years, Derek Brunson was a consistent fixture in the UFC’s middleweight division. He never fought for the title, but he did compete against some of the biggest and best names at 185 pounds.

RELATED: Derek Brunson reveals conversation with Dana White following UFC release: “No ill will”

Now, he’s part of the PFL family, with his debut coming back in November. On that night, he defeated Ray Cooper III via unanimous decision.

Ahead of his 40th birthday tomorrow, Brunson spoke to MMA Fighting about his first payday in PFL and how it compares to the structure in the UFC.

Brunson’s big payday

“For sure, my biggest payday ever,” Brunson told MMA Fighting. “It’s pretty good, it’s a lot more than the UFC, I would say that.”

“It’s crazy,” Brunson said, “It’s kind of disheartening when you hear guys like Kevin Holland say, ‘The fight with [Khamzat] Chimaev, I got paid crazy money.’ Like I would imagine he got $600,000 or something like that, short notice. Who else, I think Sean Strickland fought somebody on short notice, it was [Nassourdine] Imavov or somebody, but he fought him on short notice and got paid a lot of money. I’ve never been able to say that.

“I fought everybody. Even like [Israel Adesanya] — I didn’t have to fight Izzy. I did it because it’s a big fight and I wanted to put on for the fans and put on a big fight. These are fights that I didn’t have to takem but I took those risks and I really wanted to put on a good fight and give the fans something good.”

“Funny enough, I’ve been in the UFC, I think I have the most finishes in middleweight history. I’m tied with Don Frye for the most in UFC history with six. I’ve never got a finish or performance bonus,” Brunson said. “That’s crazy. I’ve got a lot of finishes in the UFC and I never got a performance bonus. It’s just kind of rough with those details.

“I enjoy fighting, but we definitely want to be able to be comfortable, take care of our families with it, be able to buy what we want to buy. We put our lives, our livelihoods on the line, our brains. We can’t get that stuff back. If you’re out here putting on big fights and fighting these high-level fights, you want to be taken care of.”

Quotes via MMA Fighting

What’s next for Derek Brunson? Let us know, BJPENN Nation!


Derek Brunson Professional Fighters League (PFL) UFC