Jarred Brooks earned his shot at the ONE strawweight world championship with another dominant victory in Singapore this past Friday.
Brooks, the division’s No. 2-ranked contender, submitted top-ranked Bokang Masunyane with a rear-naked choke in the opening round of their strawweight world title eliminator at "ONE 156: Eersel vs. Sadikovic." That pushed his MMA record to 19-2 and put him on a five-fight winning streak.
Though fans were curious to see how the battle of wrestlers would play out, it was ultimately a one-sided affair for the 28-year-old American star, who took control early and bided his time to get the submission finish.
While Brooks is satisfied with the win, he admits it was somewhat bittersweet because of his respect for Masunyane.
"I was pleased with my patience, having his back and staying there as long as I did," Brooks said. "I wanted to wait until my arms got a little more slippery so I could get under his neck and finish it in a fashionable way.
"But hats off to Bokang. It sucks to beat somebody like that because he's such a good dude and has such a good soul and heart. So, it kinda hurts me to beat somebody that really wanted it like I do."
Despite getting the victory against the previously undefeated South African star in such a decisive manner, Brooks believes he has even more room to grow.
Ever since he signed with ONE Championship, "The Monkey God" has become fully dedicated to his MMA career. That means he can spend more time sharpening his skills and preparing for his fights, including his future ONE strawweight world title bout against reigning king Joshua Pacio.
“Personally, I feel like I have a lot to work on and I want to pursue getting better as well – I (was) only training twice a week, working out four days a week," Brooks said. "Now, I have the opportunity to train almost every day, and you guys are going to see that against Joshua Pacio.
"I talk a lot, so I'm always going to have my haters, but the people that know the sport and know me definitely have that respect for me. There's nobody in the world that can beat me. I believe that to the core of my heart, and that's not trash talk.”
Brooks anticipates 'easier' fight with Pacio
Brooks expects his ONE strawweight world title fight with Pacio to happen in the very near future – as long as the Filipino kingpin signs on the dotted line.
After racking up three dominant victories against elite ONE Championship strawweights, "The Monkey God" wants to keep his momentum rolling.
"I can't release the date unfortunately, but it's going to be sooner rather than later – if Joshua takes it," Brooks said. "Joshua, you better take it. As you can see, I fought three times in the past six months. It's going to be four here really soon. My plan is to fight five times by the end of the year, and I'm just going to keep on going through this cycle. Man, that's what I love."
Brooks doesn't think he'll have too many issues getting past "The Passion," especially after defeating his Team Lakay stablemate Lito Adiwang in his ONE debut last November, and he's confident that he will be holding the world title belt after his next outing.
The American has his eyes on some other intriguing matchups, too, including a move up to face ONE flyweight world champion Adriano Moraes. But "The Monkey God" knows that there are other strawweight athletes who also deserve their shot if he gets past Pacio.
"I see (the fight with Pacio going) like Lito Adiwang, just maybe a little bit easier," Brooks said. "Lito is more explosive, but I'd say Joshua is a little bit more technically savvy and has more patience, so we'll see how that fight goes. But I think it would be similar. I'd choke him out in the first or second round. Hopefully it'll be in the next two months so I can get a world title and get the big belt.
"After that, I can go against people like Gustavo Balart, he looked pretty good, and so did 'Mini T' (Danial Williams). I can't deny them what they want, but I'd like to go up to flyweight and fight Adriano Moraes."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.