Former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks hasn’t had the easiest start to his UFC career, but this Saturday at UFC 216 he’s hoping to put two successive losses behind him and get back to winning ways.
Speaking to the Miami Herald earlier this week, Brooks explained how he’d been focusing on other aspects of his life outside of the Octagon and how his fighting had suffered because of it.
“Right now I’m 1-2 and the start of my UFC career isn’t going the way I want it to go,” Brooks admitted. “But I’m ready to recognise what’s been going on and I’m ready to piece it back together and go out there and really display who I am as a competitor and get back on track.
“I think it’s just a matter of showing up and being focused you know. This is a sport where if you lose focus for a second it’s trouble. That’s one thing I’ve and done and I recognise that I haven’t been focusing on what I’ve been doing and I’ve been focused on other things outside of fighting, being in the gym and going out there in the Octagon. I’ve put a lot of energy into trying to be the best father and husband I can be. This past year I got married and had my first kid and I put a lot of energy into being the best father and the best husband I could be.
“I took a little of my focus away from my fighting and my training and I had a good reason to do that, but unfortunately, in this business you can pay for that.
“Now I’ve regrouped, I’ve found a balance and I’m ready to go.”
With his focus back on the task at hand, Brooks says he’s in a good place to defeat Nik Lentz on Saturday night. Brooks is well aware that the stakes are high given that both men are coming off losses.
“I think it’s one of those things where you have a guy that’s put in a lot of work during his career and he’s become a little bit more a gatekeeper sort of thing,” Brooks said. “It’s one of those things that if you get down one or two [losses] they [the UFC] still have faith in you and the people want to still see what you can do and what you’re capable of.
“You look at the guys last fights and you can tell he’s still talented. Maybe he’s hit a little speed bump and lets see what he does. So they put you up against someone like Nik Lentz to test you and to see what you do when lost one or two, whether you’re just going to bounce back or whether you’re going to just let yourself fall apart.
“I think this is a fight that they’ve put in front of me to test me and to see if I really belong and see if I really want to do this.”
With this challenge ahead of him, Brooks says he’s going to go out there on Saturday night and put on a show.
“I’m going to get out there and put it on Nik Lentz,” Brooks said. “He’s a gatekeeper type of fighter now in the backend of his career and I believe he’s just trying to survive and make money and compete. I’m on a different level than that. I’m out here trying to win for my daughter and I want to win because I want to be the champion.
“I’ve been a champion before and I want to be a champion of this organization.
“On October 7 I’m going to run through Nik Lentz and I’m going to put on a display that shows Will Brooks is going nowhere.”
I stumbled a little bit, but I’m exactly where I need to be.”