For Will Brooks, having his nine-fight win streak -- which dated back to his days as Bellator MMA’s lightweight champion — snapped in just his second fight under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner, severely hurt his chances of jumping to the front of the title line.
Of course, he was facing a much bigger foe, as Alex Oliveira came in heavy for their bout, which was ultimately contested at 161 pounds. Nevertheless, Will — who suffered a rib injury before losing via third-round TKO -- says the setback is just that, and is still confident he’ll become UFC’s 155-pound king.
“I know it’s expected of everybody to say the same thing — ‘I’m going to be the lightweight champion’ — but I’m not saying this. I believe this,” Brooks told FOX Sports. “I’m not saying it because I’m supposed to say it. I’m saying it because I believe it. I know my capability. I know if Will Brooks shows up the night of any competition, before I sign that contract, I know my skills, I know my abilities. I know that I’m able to beat anybody at any point in this game.”
While the UFC’s lightweight picture is very uncertain at the moment, thanks to Conor McGregor’s interest in a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather instead of defending his belt, the front of the pack is very crowded.
Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov are currently the frontrunners for a title shot.
But the 27 year-old Brooks knows it will take time to reach the pinnacle of the sport, and he’s prepared to put the proper work in to get there.
“So I’m very, very confident that I will be the lightweight champion at some point. Maybe it’s not going to be next week or the week after, but it’s going to happen. I just know it. I feel it in my bones.”
He will also have to fight off rising contenders like these.
Admitting he’s fought down to his opponents’ levels before, “Ill” insists he won’t have that issue with his upcoming foe Charles Oliveira, who he faces at this weekend’s (Sat., April 8, 2017) UFC 210 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Buffalo, New York,
“I’ve have had an issue with fighting down to guy’s levels. If a guy I felt like or most people would seem like ‘well he’s not on Will’s level’, I tend to fight at their level,” Brooks said.
“So to have a guy like [Charles] Oliveira, who’s going to be coming at a high level and he’s going to be pushing the pace, that brings out the best in me. I go back to one of the biggest examples of my career. The fight of my career against Michael Chandler. He’s one of the better guys that I’ve ever fought in my career and I believe that type of guy brings the best out of me.”
Indeed, with four straight finishes in his previous wins, Oliveira definitely knows how to bring the noise. And that’s just perfect for Brooks.
For much more on UFC 210 click here.