The 28-year-old strawweight rattled Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang’s cage on social media ahead of their main event battle at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, spurring the usually laid-back Filipino to return fire.
But while the brash American has not shied away from any war of words, he wants to make the biggest statement of all inside the Circle.
“People want to see [fighters] that can come in, talk the talk and walk the walk. And I plan on doing that,” he says.
“All I said was a comment on Facebook, and it was just a little jab. I said, ‘If I win, then you have to cut your mullet off.’ It was more of a joke than anything.
“He’s saying that he’s going to eat me for breakfast, that he’s a lion in the cage, and I’m just a monkey that tries to get into people’s heads. But it seems like he was trying to get into my head for some reason.
“Maybe he’s trying to do something to alleviate the confidence that he doesn’t have. If he wants to be like that, then that’s perfectly fine. I’ll go out and take his confidence away.”
Confidence is certainly not something Brooks is short of. He sounded off on the strawweight division’s elite earlier this year and likes his chances of toppling any of the top contenders. But that doesn’t mean he is overlooking #5-ranked “Thunder Kid.”
The Mash Fight Team representative has spent time studying Adiwang and gives him plenty of credit – even saying the Team Lakay upstart would defeat his teammate and ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.
For that reason, Brooks thinks “Thunder Kid” is the perfect foil for his first outing on the global stage.
“Lito is like the new Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines. He’s a huge superstar over there. I think that’s great for my ONE debut because I can actually go out and beat somebody that already has a name in the promotion,” the American says.
“From what I’ve seen against the opponents that [Adiwang and Pacio] have faced, I think that Lito definitely does have the striking advantage. Josh kicks hard, and his fight IQ is good, but I think if they went at it, Lito would probably end up beating him.”
“The Monkey God” cites Adiwang’s power as one of his biggest weapons, and he knows he’ll face a tough test on the feet.
However, that’s still not enough to put a dent in the Michigan man’s conviction, as “The Monkey God” insists he is levels above his foe across the broad spectrum of MMA.
“[Adiwang] called himself a very technical striker, but he’s really not. He’s just super powerful. He’s like a [American boxer] Deontay Wilder of the strawweight division,” Brooks offers.
“He’s super fast. He has great kicks. I would say his kicking is probably his heaviest weapon. He has a good cross and good hooks. He’s the best, most dynamic striker in the division – but unfortunately, this is mixed martial arts.
“You’re going against people that are greater at jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and boxing, so if you put all those things together, then it’s bad news for Lito.”
Brooks is a wrestler by trade and has spent his whole life learning to take people down and control them. But even with that dominant skill set, he feels like there’s more to his offense.
“I definitely do look to exploit any type of weaknesses that he has, even if it’s on the feet,” he says of Adiwang.
“But if it goes on the ground I think I do have an advantage. I know that their whole team has been working on grappling. And nothing against their team, they’re definitely A-plus, but I plan on giving him a good American b*** whooping.
“I know he’s been working on it, but I’ve been grappling my whole life. I’ve been wrestling my whole life. And I go against some of the best grapplers in the world over in Michigan. So good luck, Lito. It’s going to be a tough, tough outing for you if it gets on the ground.”
“The Monkey God” knows he may have to weather an early storm from the explosive Filipino, and he’s ready for the initial onslaught.
But once Adiwang has thrown everything at the American at the start of round one, “The Monkey God” plans to come into his own, take over, and make some noise in his promotional debut.
“It’s going to be the toughest portion of the fight, that first minute and a half. After that, we’ll see where it goes, but I think it’ll be all downhill [for Adiwang] from there,” Brooks adds.
“I’m down to finish him no matter what. If it’s on the feet, if it’s on the ground. This is mixed martial arts, so anywhere, any place, any time. And if it doesn’t happen, then I promise you, he’s going to be dead tired with me on top of him, beating him up.
“I definitely want to be the best in the world. I think I am right now, but I just have to go out and prove it.”