Record: 1-0 *
Weight Class: 184-205
* At the time of the interview, Brooks was 0-0 but won his first amateur fight on February 8 in the WKA: CSC 38
What is your martial arts background? Have you ever competed in combat sports before?
I grew up in Ohio and it is one of the top five wrestling states. From 8th grade to college, I was wrestling.
Why did you start training in MMA?
I started with Jerome in June of 2013. I was looking for a way to get back in shape. I was going out a lot and getting up there in weight. I tried Crossfit, HIT, WOD (workout of the day), but it wasn't fulfilling and it always sizzled out. It just wasn't as satisfying as wrestling.
What's your fighting style (ground and pound, wrestling, striker)?
Ground and pound. I'm not a very clean striker due to my wrestling background. Because of my background, I'm all forward, all pressure all the time. I push the pace. It's not a commonplace here, so it throws other fighters' speed off.
Where do you see yourself going in MMA (casual, fitness, fun, professional)?
Amateur to keep in shape and have fun. I'm not blind to the fact that only a small percentage of fighters make it, and fighters don't make that much compared to other sports. So I definitely have a day job.
When is your next fight?
How do you prepare for a fight (what is your diet? How do you train? How do you mentally prepare)?
There's a lot of training for fights. A lot more cardio and I work on technique. I work on building up synapses to fire off at the right time, basically building up muscle memory. The more you think, the less reaction time.
Does cutting weight affect your strength and stamina the day of the fight?
I walk around at 205/210 and I'm only about 5lbs away from my fight weight, so it's a bit different. I've been cutting weight since high school, and it can be very dangerous. I was lucky enough to have a couch that knew about nutrition. You eat nutritionally dense food so that you slim down over time. A lot of people don't realize that water weighs a lot. Someone sees a 40oz bottle of water and I see 1.5lbs.
Who has your toughest opponent been so far?
I've only fought in this gym and I haven't had my first fight yet, so no one yet.
Why do you get in the ring as opposed to just training?
As a wrestler and because of my background, I like the competition. I don't care about the fans or the money. Coming from wrestling, which isn't as popular in North America, I just didn't go into it for that. It's just purely competition. I just want to get in the ring and see whose the better man.
How do you feel about MMA today? Do you think it is becoming more popular? Less popular? Too saturated?
I think MMA is going in the right direction. You can't talk about MMA without talking about the UFC. They got it off its feet and cleaned it up. So they made it well known in North America. They really helped to fix the reputation. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be doing this. It will go as far as people want it to.
Who is your favorite fighter in the major organizations (UFC, WSOF, Bellator, etc.) and why?
Randy Couture; he had a wrestling and boxing background. He's one of the first UFC champs, and one of the first to hold two belts. He had an amazing career up into his 30s and 40s. He was a very smart fighter.
Do you have a favorite fighter from the DMV area?
Do you think the DMV area is underrepresented in the MMA Community? If yes, how are you trying to change this? And how can the DMV MMA community change this?
I couldn't tell you.
What is the gym atmosphere like?
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Coming from my background, wrestling is tight knit. It's not as popular, so you don't have a lot of fans, you have your team and your parents. I did Crossfit and did gyms, but hadn't felt that sense of community, and I hadn't felt that in a long time. There's also a lot of different style fighters. Jerome is talented so he can mimic any style. A lot of people can fill the void; you have so many different fighters and different styles, so you don't just get one style.
If Bruce Lee or Muhammad Ali were in their prime and training in MMA, do you think they would be great or nothing special in the cage?
Bruce Lee would get it. Muhammed Ali wouldn't want to because he knew what he was good at. Not that he wouldn't do good but he just gravitated towards boxing. He was an amazing athlete and I definitely think he would knock people out. And most definitely if he trained in it. Bruce Lee was an all around amazing fighter and the first one to break the techniques and styles down.