After three fights on the show Jonathan Brookins has begun to establish himself as this season’s ultimate fighter superstar. He has shown an amazing skill set in his first few fights in the Octagon. He displayed textbook jiu jitsu in taking the back of his first two opponents, Sevak Magakian and Sako Chivitchian, and put them both to sleep in the first round. He did so seemingly easily and extremely methodical. He was in control and relaxed the entire time. He didn’t rush anything or force himself into a bad situation by making mistakes. When he saw his opportunity, he went for it, and the next thing anyone knew the referee was holding up his hand in victory.
His performances prompted his coach, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, to comment, “I don’t even know how good Jonathan Brookins is. Jonathan Brookins doesn’t even know how good Jonathan Brookins is.”
Most importantly, he has won all his fights in the house without so much as receiving a scratch for his efforts. These kinds of “easy wins” play a huge advantage in a tournament format like the Ultimate Fighter, where contestants need to fight multiple times in a short period. Brookins will now be moving on to the semi-finals as fresh as the day he walked into the house, while other fighters who had to go through multiple round wars, surely are ailing in several places, possibly even fighting through injuries, and may not be able to perform up to their highest capability.
Even more impressive about Brookins is his approach to the fight game. For a young guy (24 years old), he comes off as both humble and down to earth. In his interviews during the show, he never underestimates or disrespects his opponents. He never gets ahead of himself and talks any future fights except his next one. He demonstrated an understanding that he has a great deal of potential, but still has a long way to go before wrapping that UFC strap around his waist. This intelligent and mature mental outlook will likely be his greatest asset of all, as he embarks on his journey to the top of the mountain.
Though Brookins has both fought and conducted himself extraordinarily, I must hesitate to call him the real deal just yet. Though he has shown no weaknesses and total domination thus far, I need to see him in a variety of situations before I anoint him the next coming. First of all, he needs to face a higher level of competition. It’s not that the guys he defeated are low-level fighters, but there are a lot guys in the UFC, not to mention the fighters that still remain in the tournament. Brookins greatest challenges are surely ahead of him. The more he shows his patent move of getting his opponents back and slapping on the rear naked choke, the more predictable he will become and the more his opponents will be able to prepare for it. Most importantly, though, I need to see if this kid can take a hit, can he defend the takedown, does he have cardio? While first round wins look most impressive, it leaves a lot to wonder about how he would do if the fight went into the second or even third round. Is he equipped to handle that kind of pain and exhaustion? I’m certainly not saying he isn’t, but I’d like to see him challenged, then we’ll see what the real Jonathan Brookins is all about.
Everyone gets hit in the sport of MMA at some point. Thus far Brookins has been lucky enough, or maybe I should say good enough, to not get touched. However, his day will come, and when it does, I hope he passes the test with flying colors. At that point, I’ll be ecstatic to call this up and comer the future UFC champion.