Although many fighters do not enjoy fighting in front of a hostile crowd, former UFC fighter Jonathan Brookins bucked that trend as he defeated Decky Dalton in a hard-fought victory in his opponent’s hometown of Belfast this past weekend at BAMMA 28.
Brookins looks to relaunch career after personal journey to India
Brookins, who was bouncing back from three defeats, has struggled to find a place to call home since leaving the UFC and the sport of MMA in 2012 and has bounced around regional promotions after returning from his retirement three years ago.
These breaks have allowed the Oregon native a chance to further other interests he has in his life such as travelling and spirituality. This included moving to India to study yoga full time however now he seems ready to find a place to settle down and get back to fighting.
The ex-Bellator and WEC fighter would reveal to MMA Plus backstage at the SSE Arena that he had enjoyed his experience in Belfast and would love the opportunity to fight in the UK and Ireland again in the future.
“I want to come back to Ireland, I want to win some fans and I want to turn those boos around,” said an excited Brookins after his BAMMA 28 win. ”Whatever I have to do to do it, it would be nice because I think Belfast, Ireland and the rest of the UK is something I’d love to explore as it’s one of the most beautiful places. I’d love to turn around some of those boos every night.”
With his laid back attitude and infectious cheerful demeanour, the American oozes calm even in the face of adversity and that was most noticeable during his walkout when he was booed out the building in favour of local boy Dalton.
“You couldn’t really hear my walkout song,” admitted an unfazed Brookins.
“But it was really tranquil and was a song I learnt from all these Brazilians in the jungle. It helped me tune everything out and remember what I’m trying to do man. I was really in this fight aura, like a different space that helped me just go with the flow.”
Brookins survives difficult first round to overcome local favourite Dalton
Despite not having it all his own way, Brookins would remain relaxed and stick to his game plan on his UK debut even though he admits to being concerned by the pace and power of his Northern Irish opponent during the first round.
“The first round is always kinda like that for me. I kinda bet on cardio, I guess to hope that the juice they put out in the first round leaves them drained a bit because if he keeps up the pace he did in the first round then it’s a different story. His body shots were good man, really good body shots and I’m really impressed. I was thinking let’s just check the pace for the second round and see what happens.”
Impressed by the resiliency of the 25-year-old Dalton, Brookins was quick to praise the toughness and talent he faced in the cage after he was unable to finish off his opponent with two tight rear-naked-choke attempts.
“I was surprised he was able to survive, so surprised. It was locked in, really in but for him, he’s the kind of guy that needs to go to sleep in order to get the finish. A lot of guys will tap before they go to sleep but he ain’t one of those.”
Despite the animosity from the locals, the TUF Season 12 winner seems to be extremely interested in returning to BAMMA and confirmed on his Facebook that after much searching, he may have “found himself in an organisation he finds exciting”.
His victory over the less experienced Dalton could see him linked to some big names in BAMMA’s featherweight division going forward, especially considering his history in major promotions, as he attempts to relaunch his career on this side of the Atlantic.