Photo courtesy of ONE Championship
Jarred Brooks (19-2 MMA, 3-0 ONE Championship) is set to challenge Joshua Pacio (20-3 MMA, 11-3 ONE) for the ONE Championship strawweight belt at ONE Championship 158 on June 3. The bout is set to be contested at 125 pounds, as ONE structures its weight classes differently from the unified MMA rules, where 125 pounds is flyweight.
Brooks predicts there will be action from bell to bell – as long as both men remain in the fight.
“I’m gonna be swinging at him. He’s gonna be swinging at me. We’re going to be trying to put each other out,” Brooks told MMASucka. “Stylistically, he has good kicks. I think my boxing is a little bit better. His knees are good. I would say I have the advantage on the elbows. I have the advantage in wrestling. I have the advantage in the submission grappling. I think, stylistically, I’m a little bit ahead of him in the game.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) May 12, 2022
Brooks believes he can get the champion out in the first or second round through his grappling skills. If Pacio hangs in, “The Monkey God” plans to bring him to deep waters.
“You’ve seen it with Deiveson Figueiredo, one of the best 125-pound strikers in UFC history, I made him look not that great on his feet,” Brooks said. “He hit me with an uppercut, but I think I can beat all of those 125’ers, no big deal. I think I can tire out Josh [Pacio] real quick, and he’ll be in those deep waters. No matter how big his acclimation or how long he’s been training, it’ll be an effect in that second or third round; if he thinks I’m going to get tired, because that’s what he says.”
Brooks, during his UFC run, lost a controversial split decision to Figueiredo, the UFC’s current flyweight champion. Brooks was one of several 125’ers released from the UFC following a win over Roberto Sanchez amid rumors the UFC would be closing down its flyweight division.
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 28: (R-L) Jarred Brooks takes down Deiveson Figueiredo of Brazil in their flyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Ibirapuera Gymnasium on October 28, 2017 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Following one-fight stints in RIZIN, Bellator, and WXC, Brooks eventually signed with ONE Championship. “The Monkey God” spoke highly of ONE Championship and said he sees the promotion as his longtime home.
“ONE is definitely the best promotion in the world right now,” Brooks said. “It has some of the best athletes around the world, and we mix our martial arts up. I think it’s going to be the next big thing. People are going to really start to pay attention to it, especially in the United States and the U.K. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air being with ONE Championship.”
Between his unanimous decision win over Haruo Ochi in a rematch and his ONE signing, Brooks had been on the shelf for nearly two whole years. However, since signing with ONE, Brooks has fought three times since November.
“The first time I talked to the matchmakers, I told them I wish I could fight month to month,” Brooks said. “They’ve been pretty much doing that for me. It’s springing me up quick.”
He has defeated Lito Adiwang via arm triangle choke, Hiroba Minowa via unanimous decision, and Bokang Masunyane via rear naked choke. The first-round submission of Masunyane earned Brooks a title shot after debuting for the organization half a year ago.
Brooks is ready for his opportunity to become a world champion when he fights Pacio for his ONE strawweight belt.
“It would be amazing,” he said of the idea of winning the title. “It would be a dream come true. It’s just the start, though. It’s not going to be my end goal or my end game; just winning a championship. It’s defending, moving up, and showing people the true martial artist that I am. And showing all the people in the world that even if you are the smaller person, you can still beat people with technique, and it’ll make people pay attention to the technique more.”
Brooks outlined several possibilities should he defeat Pacio for the strap.
Should be beat Pacio, Brooks said he would be willing to give the current champion an immediate rematch.
“I’m definitely welcome to defend my title anytime,” Brooks said. “It’s not like weight is a crazy issue. I’m going to be a light flyweight when I go up to flyweight [at 135]. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to build the muscle and define myself at 125 to where when I go up to 135, it’s not going to be that crazy of a difference.”
Brooks said he and former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson have spoken about the possibility of fighting one another. “Mighty Mouse,” who many view as the Greatest of All Time at 125 pounds – Brooks included – won the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix before being knocked out in the title fight by current flyweight champion Adriano Moraes. According to Brooks, Johnson told him he could not make 125 under ONE’s weight restrictions, so Brooks said he would bump up to 135 if he and Johnson were to throw down. Brooks also said he would be willing to scrap with Moraes.
“I’m already getting thicker right now. I’m just trying to work on my weight-lifting regimens to that it would not be a crazy turnover for me when I do go up,” Brooks said. “I would like to fight Moraes if Pacio gets hurt or something like that after we fight for the belt and he can’t come back and fight again, I would definitely fight Moraes right after that. I think that would be a good fight just to keep my steam up. I would fight Demetrious Johnson at 135 for sure. No disrespect to Demetrious. He’s the GOAT, but you’ve gotta go out and prove to yourself that you’re the best in the world no matter what.”
Brooks said there are a bunch of tough 125’ers, but he believes that with a win over Pacio and becoming the champion at that weight class, he would be the best 125’er in the world.
“I just feel like they can’t touch me with my speed and my strength combined,” Brooks said. “When you bring both of those things together with technique, it’s very hard to beat. In my mind, I do think that I am the 125-pound champion of the world.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) January 28, 2022
Brooks said he feels like the best version of himself heading into the fight with Pacio. “The Monkey God” is thicker heading into this bout, and he has been focusing on his weight training and wrestling.
Brooks attributes his dominance under the ONE banner to his coaches and hard work ethic.
“A big change is my boy Justin Scoggins, he’s like my bigger brother, pretty much. He’s been in my camp the past year, and it’s really helped. He’s just so good on the feet, it helps with gaining confidence and gaining the calmness of being on the feet. I’d attribute that to that.”
Brooks also gave shout-outs to his training partners, Alex Hodi, Khalil Fadallah and Austin Bashi, as well as head coach James Lee, boxing coach Johnny Glov, strength and conditioning coach Guy Monarch, all of Detroit Jiu-Jitsu’s coaches and staff, and everyone at Warrior Way.
ONE Championship 158 is set to go down from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on June 3. Joshua Pacio vs. Jarred Brooks for the ONE strawweight championship is penciled as the main event.