Jarred Brooks has yet to make his ONE Championship debut. But that hasn’t stopped the Rizin and UFC veteran from watching the promotion’s fights and he is keeping a very careful eye on the top strawweights on the roster.

It is fair to say that the American is impressed by the standard of competition in the division,

“Everybody in ONE is sneaky, and they’re good, and they have a lot of great capabilities. And I can’t wait until I can showcase my talents and have everybody in that arena just shout,” he said.

Making my dues

It sounds like champion Joshua Pacio has been on his radar for years,

“I think he’s a well-rounded fighter. He has a lot of capabilities, and he’s shown that he can grow. I remember seeing Josh when he was a little bit younger, and we were liking each other’s Facebook posts and stuff.

However Brooks sounds extremely confident he would be able to beat the Filipino,

“I think he is a legitimate champion. He’s done his dues in the division. But yeah, I’m there to rip him apart and show everybody around the world that I’m the best in the world. I love you, Josh, but I got to come in there and make my dues.”

Japanese rivals

Another fighter he is very familiar with is Yuya Wakamatsu. Brooks actually spent time training with him in Tokyo,

“I actually got to train with him during my first outing in Pancrase, so we trained together, and he’s legit. I’ll give him his touts, but he knows what’s up.”

Another Japanese fighter in the mix is former champion Yoshitaka Naito. Brooks is a fan but doesn’t see the 37 year old as much of a threat,

“I love that guy. I’ve never met him, but he just seems like he’s a star. He’s so likable. He brings that nerdy kind of style and vibe out, and he’s a great, great jiu-jitsu practitioner. He’s a hard fighter to fight against. If that guy had hands, he’d be so, so tough.”

But Brooks believes Naito is well past his prime,

“Unfortunately, age is catching up with that guy, and I don’t see him being a top contender very soon. But hats off to that guy. He’s done his dues.”

Real respect

One opponent who he does have real respect for is Bokang Masunyane. It sounds like Brooks has identified the undefeated South African as the biggest threat,

“Now you’re talking about a real opponent. I think that Bokang is somebody that I would love to train for, and it would make me train way harder to fight that guy because I know he’s small. He’s very hard to deal with, and he’s fast. He’s a world-class Greco-Roman wrestler. He would be, I would say, my toughest fight in the division.”

Brooks thinks a fight between him and Masunyane is inevitable and he has already started to think about the training camp,

“As far as training for a camp, I got plenty of guys that are around his size and that are. I wouldn’t say they’re as athletic as he is because the dude’s really athletic, but I got plenty of guys around his size that I can use as a practice dummy. I think that me and him are going to meet in the crossroads, but Lito’s first. I got to get that guy out of here first.”

No controversy

Hiroba Minowa is undefeated since signing with ONE Championship. Brooks watched his fight with Lito Adiwang at ONE: ‘Inside the Matrix’ Part III. There was some controversy surrounding that fight and the American weighs in,

“That kid is good. I like watching him. He actually beat Lito and a lot of people say that he tapped against Lito, but I know how it is in those hard situations. You’re flailing a lot, so I don’t think he tapped against Lito. I think Lito is just mad that he lost.”

Brooks acknowledges that Minowa has talent but doesn’t sound particularly concerned about the prospect of fighting him,

“Hiroba Minowa is good, I think that kid is legit. If we were to fight in the next two years, then yeah, it would be bad for him.”

Simply the best

Another former champion possibly coming to the end of his career is Alex Silva. Brooks thinks the Brazilian is one dimensional but very good at what he does,

“Alex is a rugged fighter. He’s just a straight rugged fighter. He has a lot of great jiu-jitsu. That’s all I got to say about him. He’s just great at jiu-jitsu, and the formula’s out there to beat him. I think that he’s very beatable, but you got to watch out for him. He’s sneaky.”

But when it comes to identifying the best strawweight on the roster Brooks has no doubts. He might not have made his ONE Championship debut yet but the American believes he has what it takes to clear out the competition in his division,

“I consider myself still the best in the world, so I guess I’m going to put my heart and put my shield out there and show everybody what’s up.”