UFC 155′s Derek Brunson was a cheerleader before he started fighting

Maggie Hendricks
December 28, 2012

Long before he put together a 9-2 record and earned a spot against Chris Leben at UFC 155, Derek Brunson was a cheerleader. As he shows in his audition video for "The Ultimate Fighter," Brunson was an accomplished tumbler and stunter. Skip to the 2:10 mark to see him toss his partner up into one-handed stunts and throw a double-twisting flip.

He talked about his cheerleading past with MMA Fighting, and pointed out how difficult cheerleading can be.

"I can do flips, and I was like tossing girls in the air. That's where I got my strength from, just controlling girls in the air. You get core strength, your chest gets all big. It makes you really strong, like you look on steroids, but you don't have to take steroids because of cheerleading."

Though Brunson wrestled in college, he said he did have scholarship offers for cheerleading. Wrestling and eventually MMA won out. Brunson admitted that MMA is more dangerous than cheerleading, but it's still tough.

"Cheerleading is definitely hard on your body. That's why I decided to wrestle in college, not cheerlead."