For the #5-ranked strawweight – who will get his long-awaited shot at Brooks in the main event of ONE: NEXTGEN III on Friday, 26 November – there’s something about the American that makes him extra motivated.
“I’m just very happy that at least, despite it being canceled a few months ago, it’s finally happening,” Adiwang says.
“I want to test my skills against the best in the world. And yeah, Jarred thinks that he’s the best in this division. So I want to test my skills against him.”
Of course, anyone following the two strawweight juggernauts on social media knows that Adiwang’s excitement goes beyond a test of skill.
The two have been going at it since their original bout was announced for “ONE on TNT II” last April – a bout that was postponed after Adiwang contracted COVID-19.
And in the months that followed, the debuting Brooks continued talking big and taking shots at the top guys in the strawweight division.
In response, Adiwang fired back through various interviews in the Filipino press, making it clear that he plans to humble the tough-talking wrestler when they meet.
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Usually calm and collected before a fight, Adiwang admits that all the talk is a bit uncharacteristic for him. So what pushed “Thunder Kid” to break his peace and join the war of words?
It had something to do with his hair – or rather, what Brooks wanted to do with it.
“That comes from me just getting irritated by him. I saw his comments in my post before that he wants to cut my mullet after beating me,” Adiwang says.
“So yeah, let’s go, let’s settle the score first, then maybe he can worry about that after. Because he’s got so many more problems other than my mullet.”
Brooks has since apologized for the comment, but that hasn’t taken away the fire from either man. “The Monkey God” recently reignited the flames by claiming that Adiwang’s unusual trash talk is a sign of nerves before their bout.
However, “Thunder Kid” isn’t having any of it.
“Let’s try to change the word nervous. Let’s use excited instead,” the 28-year-old Filipino says.
“I’m really, really excited about this fight because he said that he’s the best in the world, and that’s the thing for me. I really want to test my skills against the best. So I’m really looking forward to this one.”
Adiwang has competed since the postponement of their original match, beating “Wolf of the Grasslands” Hexigetu in a dominant decision victory at ONE: REVOLUTION this past September.
That victory pushed his mixed martial arts record to 13-3, put him on a two-fight winning streak, and paved the way for him to re-enter the top-five rankings.
But even while preparing for that bout, the Filipino kept an eye firmly on Brooks. And he thinks the quick turnaround is beneficial given the traits shared by Hexigetu and “The Monkey God.”
“The Hexigetu fight is a blessing because yeah, they have some kind of similarities. So it’s a good warmup fight for me,” Adiwang says.
“We know that [Hexigetu’s] game plan is to try to take me down and control me, maybe dish some ground-and-pound and win by points. But I did stop his game, so it’s a blessing for me to have that fight. Great warmup fight.”
It’s clear that Adiwang believes he’s better equipped to handle Brooks now, both from beating another grappler in Hexigetu to finding extra motivation from the pre-fight chatter.
But the Filipino is done talking now. He’s ready to let his actions do the work – and he hopes “The Monkey God” feels the same.
“I’m just excited. And I hope he’s excited as well because I’ve been preparing for him,” Adiwang adds.
“I don’t think he has excuses anymore because the postponement gave us both time to prepare longer. I don’t want to say anything anymore, Let’s go. Let’s get this done.”