Is Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks playing chess while everyone is playing checkers?
It may seem like it especially with how the American rained praises on Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang, his opponent at ONE: NEXTGEN III on 26 November in Singapore.
“Starting with Lito is a great way to start in ONE,” he said, looking ahead to his promotional debut which already gets prime billing as the main event of that card.
“I think Lito is the best strawweight in the division besides myself, so starting out on the hard note is a great way to start.”
Brooks’ remarks may not seem much on surface level, but not if one understands the context especially with how the Fight Matrix Strawweight Champion has taken potshots against Adiwang’s Team Lakay stablemate and current ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.
He even went as far as to say that Adiwang, the no. 5-ranked strawweight contender in the official rankings at ONE Championship, is actually better than Pacio, the champ who held the belt for the better part of the past two years.
“It’s a game of inches and Lito and Josh are great on the feet, but I think Lito is a little bit better on the feet than Josh is. And as far as the Jiu-Jitsu and the wrestling aspect, it seems that Lito is catching up fairly quickly compared to Josh,” he observed.
“So yeah, I think Lito is a little bit better than Josh.”
That’s why Brooks is taking exception to Adiwang’s earlier statements where the ONE Super Series winner was open to the possibility of him being Pacio’s gatekeeper of sorts.
“Lito has been [treating himself] as gatekeeper, but he shouldn’t be. I feel bad for him that he has to deal with that. Going to the top five and facing people ranked lower, that does suck cause he’s better than the top five. Maybe he should talk to his management about that, but it does suck for Lito going against these really tough guys coming in,” he said.
Whether it’s just psychological warfare coming from The Monkey God or him simply just driving a wedge between the Baguio-based fighters remains to be seen.
The only thing clear is that the brash American is coming in confident, and as far as he’s concerned, he’s driven to prove that he’s not just better than Adiwang or Pacio.
Now that he’s here, he regards himself as the new sheriff in the strawweight division and has no question that he is the best in the world.
“[Lito] is definitely power-stricken, has a lot of great qualities, but I am there to show the people that I am the best in the world,” he said. “If he thinks he is the best in the world, too, then I will push myself to show people that he is not.”