3 Fighters Who Could Challenge New ONE Strawweight World Champion Jarred Brooks
Ever since joining ONE Championship, Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks predicted that he would become the strawweight king. Now, after months of heated back-and-forths with Joshua Pacio, the American has realized his dream.
In the main event of ONE 164 this past Saturday, December 3, Brooks earned a unanimous decision over his rival to capture the ONE Strawweight World Title in what was the best performance of his 22-fight career.
However, with 26 pounds of gold currently around his waist, the newly crowned strawweight king will have a target on his back and no shortage of dangerous contenders to his throne.
Having said that, here are three athletes who could be Brooks’ first World Title challenger.
Cuban standout Gustavo Balart is 35 years old but is very much in the prime of his career.
The former Olympic wrestler is currently riding a three-fight winning streak capped by a sensational victory over former strawweight king Alex Silva in October at ONE 162. The victory even earned him the #4 spot in the division.
Not only is Balart a fresh opponent for Brooks, but he is also an intriguing stylistic matchup for the new champion. Both men have surprising power in their hands and are elite takedown artists with a penchant for the big slam. Because of that, this interesting clash would be strength versus strength, wrestling versus wrestling.
Another potential contender is the red-hot Jeremy “The Jaguar” Miado. The winner of four straight bouts, the Filipino superstar is one of the organization’s most fan-friendly fighters and owns a 100 percent finishing rate inside the Circle.
With well over 80 fights in professional boxing and kickboxing, Miado would present a unique challenge to the wrestling-heavy Brooks. That striking experience, coupled with his absurd finishing abilities, makes him arguably the most dangerous contender in the division.
Of course, “The Monkey God” has proven to be no slouch on the feet in his own right and may try to test his ever-evolving boxing if he were to share the Circle with Miado.
Simply put, a World Title clash between Brooks and Miado would produce fireworks, as “The Jaguar” has never once found himself in a dull fight.
Although Brooks was respectful to Pacio after defeating him, the former strawweight king won’t be quick to forget the trash talk that came before the fight and is likely itching for a rematch.
Beyond the lingering bad blood, running the fight back makes sense for several reasons. First, “The Passion” was a long-reigning champion, having defended his belt three times in his most recent World Title run.
Second, Pacio put on an uncharacteristically tepid performance against Brooks. Whether he had an off night or just an enormous amount of respect for “The Monkey God,” the former World Champion didn’t put his best foot forward. Surely he would fight with more aggression in a rematch.
And despite the relatively friendly exchanges that took place after their fight, Brooks and Pacio would probably pick up right where they left off with the trash talk, reigniting one of the sport’s most compelling rivalries.