Jonathan Brookins was already a seasoned veteran of the sport when he entered The Ultimate Fighter, having been inside the Octagon with the likes of Jose Aldo and amassing 11 wins. However, after capturing the title on TUF, Brookins still didn't feel fully-prepared to be a fighter in the UFC.
"Since The Ultimate Fighter, the things I needed to improve the most upon were mostly personal issues that kept me from being the best I could be," said Brookins, in an exclusive interview with FightLine. "It wasn't necessarily a skill set that I could say I dedicated myself to the most because training will always be there, but if I am not enjoying training and I am not giving it my all, then everything is meaningless."
Brookins will return to the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale on June 1 to face Charles Oliveira. He sports a 2-1 record with the UFC, rebounding from a loss to Erik Koch to defeat Vagner Rocha in his last bout.
"It was very, very, very important to rebound after the Koch fight," Brookins said. "I feel like losing to Koch taught (me) that I need to fight. Before that I think I thought I could just get away with coasting in there and just holding somebody down. I wasn't in a good place mentally before that fight, but that was a great wake up call!"
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With Oliveira, Brookins believes in just focusing on what he can control - himself - and not worrying about knowing every little thing about his opponent, adding, "I have just been most importantly ENJOYING training, doing everything that I enjoy and doing as much of it as I can. No concerns about Oliveira, just excitement because I think he is one heck of a fighter!"
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