Will Brooks: This fight is personal, but it’s not personal at the same time

The scene at Bellator 131 will feel familiar for Will Brooks.

Jason Floyd - The MMA Report
Jason Floyd – The MMA Report

Like Bellator 120, Brooks will once again compete in the night’s co-main event, and once again he’ll be facing Michael Chandler for a lightweight championship.

The difference between then and Saturday night is that the strap Brooks will be competing for won’t have the interim tag.

Although this will be second consecutive time that Brooks will face Chandler, he hasn’t had much trouble finding inspiration for this bout. For Brooks, this fight is personal.

“This fight is personal, but it’s not personal at the same time. I believe in being real with people,” said Brooks. “There’s two parts to my approach: it’s personal because I think Chandler is a fake person, and it’s not personal because I feel like someone is forcing him to take this beating, and they put him in front of somebody’s who very fired up.”

Regardless of what’s on the line, the biggest motivation for Brooks heading into Bellator 131 is Chandler.

“It’s not about the title or the belt. I don’t need it. I’ve always been a champion my whole life,” said Brooks. “Now I’m just going to put it out on television so people watching live can see what happens when you cross a king, when you cross a champion, when you openly and deliberately disrespect a man like me.”

In order to illustrate his point, Brooks isn’t looking to just win the fight. He’s looking for the stoppage.

“I’m going to put him (Chandler) out of his misery. I definitely think I can finish Michael Chandler. So I’m going to play around with him, toy with him a little bit and then I’m going to take him out.”

Back at his Bellator 120 bout, Brooks was the one that had his hand raised, earning a toughly contested split decision to become the promotion’s interim champion. Since then news has come out that injuries held Chandler back from performing at his highest level, which is news that Brooks doesn’t empathize with.

“I personally don’t care if Chandler says he was injured for the fight. I’ve been athlete my whole life, and I can’t remember one time – whether it was football, baseball, basketball or MMA – that I’ve ever competed at 100%,” said Brooks. “Most professional athletes don’t go into competition at 100% and, when they lose, you don’t see them talking about an injury afterward in an interview.”

With the pre-fight talk and speculation just about done, Brooks is ready to climb into the cage and take on Chandler.

“I’m just waiting. I’m waiting for someone to ring the bell. I apologize to Chandler for what’s going to happen when they put him out there,” said Brooks. “Everyone, even those in the background, will have to sit there and watch what happens when you rattle my cage and don’t give me the respect I feel I deserve.”