“Ultimate Fighter Season 12” finalist Jonathan Brookins may be fighting at lightweight on Saturday night, but he plans a return to featherweight down the road.
Brookins was first introduced to many fans as only the second man under the Zuffa umbrella to take UFC featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo past the second round. While he has goals to achieve at 155 pounds during the TUF 12 finale, that won’t be his only home.
“I’ve definitely always got a big spot in my heart for the 145er’s, it will always be there,” Brookins said on Thursday. “I don’t put on too much weight and I feel great at 155, I like it as well.”
Brookins has bounced up and down in weight before, but many past “Ultimate Fighter” competitors have been known to drop down to a lower division once their season is behind them. With Brookins, the door is open to both weight classes simply because both create unique situations that he enjoys.
“It’s crazy because I think each guy brings in a different skill set,” Brookins explained. “When I go in to fight a 145er, I kind of look at them slightly different than the 155ers, and the 155ers definitely always bring a lot more strength to the table. So I’ve got to make sure I prepare for that.
“I like competing with the 155ers, and I feel like it only gives me an advantage when I go back down and fight the 145-pounders.”
Following Saturday night’s finale against former Team GSP teammate Michael Johnson, Brookins will leave it up to the UFC to offer him fights, regardless of weight class.
“I’m open to everything,” Brookins commented. “I’m just going to go by the fights when they need me. If there’s a good fight at 45 and they call and say, ‘hey we need you here,’ I’ll be there. If there’s a fight at 55 and they say, ‘we need you there,’ I’ll be there.”
Now that the entire featherweight division will be in the UFC, it also creates opportunities that may not have been available as a WEC featherweight. Many fighters have pointed towards more exposure and the large bonus checks given out by the UFC, and the featherweight division could be primed to become one of the most popular weight classes in the sport.
As for Jonathan Brookins, he’ll handle his business at lightweight on Saturday night, but from the sound of things, featherweight will be calling him sooner rather than later.
“I like both weight classes equally, but I have a big, big spot in my heart for 145,” he said.
Brookins will square off against Michael Johnson in “The Ultimate Fighter Season 12” finale on Saturday night in Las Vegas.