Four months after Jarred Brooks (14-2 MMA) was one of the many victims of the UFC’s looming flyweight shutdown, “The Monkey God” has a fight. He’ll compete for the Total Warrior Combat vacant flyweight title against Josh Robinson (12-12) this Saturday.
Brooks was released following a 2-2 stint in the UFC, where he earned decision victories over Eric Shelton and Roberto Sanchez. Though he’s fought and defeated more quality opponents than Robinson on paper, Brooks was adamant that he’s not over-looking his foe, even if he feels his strengths far exceed Robinson’s.
“Josh Robinson is somebody where I’m not looking it as a stepping stone, because he’s somebody who is dangerous,” Brooks told MMASucka. “Anybody’s dangerous.
“I’m not going to overlook anybody in this game, but I’m going to go out with the intent of finishing a fight, because I haven’t been known to do that. Even in the UFC, I’ve had a lot of split decisions. It’s made me a lot more hungrier and it’s made me want to strive to get finishes.”
Wanting to Return to the UFC
Brooks said the past four months have been hard and have led him to do a lot of soul-searching. He noticed that while many of his fellow flyweights were cut, some were allowed to bump up to bantamweight. He also said he doesn’t believe the UFC is permanently canning flyweight. Instead, he believes the promotion will take a break from it.
Whether he returns to the UFC at flyweight or bantamweight, Brooks wants to use his time out of the promotion to prove that he belongs back in the Octagon.
“I’m still 25 years old, I’m still young in this game,” he said. “I still have a lot of growing to do. If the UFC thinks that I still have some growing to do, then I’m just going to have to show out. I came into this game thinking that my mouth and physicality could do it, but I’ve got to put my physicality before my mouth. I’ve got to go out there and have two distinctive knockouts or two distinctive hard wins on my record, and hopefully I can get into a bigger promotion.”
Brooks laid out his plan of action: first, he wants to beat Robinson and capture the TWC flyweight title. Then, he intends to take one more fight on the Michigan regional scene. He hopes earning a pair of finishes will net him a contract with a large organization like RIZIN or ONE.
Though Brooks sees himself back in the UFC in two years, he’d love to compete for a top Asian promotion.
“If I were to fight in RIZIN or ONE, that would be very ideal for me. I think that’s somewhere I could build a large fan-base. As far as the UFC, it doesn’t really matter about your skills; it’s all about your promotional ability and how many fans you have. I think that if I was to fight outside of the country and build more fans outside of the country and inside of the country, then it could pivot me to the UFC or that top-ranking spot in the UFC.”
Fighting at Home
Brooks is no stranger to competing overseas. Prior to his UFC run, he fought for Pancrase in Japan and Akhmat in Russia. For this fight, however, the Indiana native fighting out of Michigan will be competing in Michigan for the first time since his amateur run. His crew will include his main coach James Lee, BJJ brown-belt champion John Toth, boxing coach Kara Ro, and Michigan Top Team training partners Daron Cruickshank and Cody Stamann.
“It’ll be really good to fight at home,” Brooks said. “There’s going to be a lot of fans there supporting me. My coaches don’t have to travel. I’ll get a lot of coaches in my corner, so I get the full steam.”
As for his prediction, “The Monkey God” said he would like to knock Robinson out in the first round. He’s prepared for 25 minutes if necessary, though. After all, dominant finishes are the best way to prove you belong back in the UFC or another large organization.
“I’ve got to keep on with my promotional skills, and I’ve got to show people what I’m still about, because when you’re out of the UFC, people think that you’re not capable of getting back there, and I think that I am,” Brooks said.
Total Warrior Combat goes down March 9 from the Causeway Bay Hotel and Convention Center in Lansing, MI.
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