Following his October 2012 loss to Darrell Horcher at Bellator 77, lightweight E.J. “Pretty Boy” Brooks disappeared from the fight game.
According to Brooks, his yearlong layoff was not intentional.
“I got suspended for three months after getting knocked out (by Horcher), and after I came back, Bellator didn’t really have anything for me,” said Brooks. “I was eager to get back in there, so I made the decision to leave, and when I did, I kind of got reminded of how hard it was for me to get fights.
“Nobody wanted to fight me, or when I got fights, people were backing out. I probably had three fights cancelled between June and August of this year.”
After having won four straight fights in Bellator (and his first seven fights overall) prior to his only loss, against Horcher, Brooks was understandably let down by the parting of ways, but in the end he felt it was necessary.
“Yeah, there was some disappointment, but I really feel like they were going in a different direction and I was going in a different direction,” said Brooks. “I just feel like it was the best thing for me to leave because it wasn’t working out.
“It’s like a relationship; we left on good terms and I went to pursue other opportunities.”
“He’s definitely a quality opponent and I respect him like a seasoned veteran, but I think I’m better than him everywhere,” said Brooks. “I don’t see anywhere he has any advantages.
“I don’t think he’s fought anyone like me. He’s fought guys with similar attributes and qualities, but I don’t think he’s fought anybody who’s brought the total package to a fight. I think I’m going to overwhelm him and I don’t see it going any more than two rounds.”
While he’s been gone a year, Brooks told MMAWeekly.com that his RFA bout doesn’t feel like he’s trying to remind people of who he is because they might not have known him before, and even if they did, he’s a whole different fighter now.
“It’s funny, because I don’t feel like I’m re-introducing myself or rebuilding myself,” he said. “I feel like I was kind of kept in the dark in Bellator and nobody knew who I really was because I was always on the undercard.”
At RFA 10, Brooks will face Case on the AXS TV televised portion of the fight card.
“I feel like I’m a whole lot better than I was in my last fight. The guy I was in my last fight was still pretty good, but I feel like I’m a whole lot better now.”