ATT’s Coy Says Brooks is “Going to Turn Some Heads” in Bellator, Jenkins “Capable of Being Number One”
By Kelsey Mowatt
While there is no shortage of decorated fighters and established vets who call American Top Team home, the renowned Coconut Creek gym is also where several highly touted prospects continue to develop their skills. Case in point are rising lightweights Will Brooks and Bubba Jenkins, who many believe could do some big things under the Bellator banner this upcoming season.
“We get these guys from all over the world that come in and are ass kickers you know? Will for sure,” ATT wrestling coach and Strikeforce vet Nate Coy recently said while appearing on Full Contact Fighter Radio. “We’re going to be fighting on the same card in Portland, Oregon, on September 27th…he’s a worker. I’m really impressed with him.”
Brooks made his way to Bellator not long after he turned some heads throughout the MMA world by storming through former Sengoku champ Saturo Kitaoka at a DREAM event on NYE, 2012. At the time, Kitoka had fought over 50 times, while the bout was only the eight of Brooks’ career.
After handing Ricardo Tirloni a unanimous decision defeat in his Bellator debut, Brooks was stopped by Saad Awad in the lightweight tourney’s semifinals this past February. The 26 year-old got back on track at Bellator 97 this summer, however, by stopping Chris Leyva.
“He’s going to be very impressive in this next fight, and this lightweight tournament, he’s going to run through that,” Coy said about Brooks (10-1), who will fight UFC vet John Alessio in the opening round of Bellator’s next tournament. “He’s going to turn some heads man; he’s got it upstairs and that’s where it counts.”
Earlier this year, Bellator made headlines by announcing that it had signed Jenkins to a multiyear contract, despite the fact he had just three pro bouts under his record. The reason the promotion was so keen to ink the 25 year-old fighter, was because of Jenkins’ well decorated resume. Jenkins won the NCAA Division 1 championship in wrestling at 157 pounds in 2011, and was also a multiyear champ during his high school career.
“So does Bubba; that guy has more talent than anybody I’ve ever seen but he jumps around between us I think and California, so I’d love to see him in our gym more,” Coy said. “So I hope that’s the case but Bubba’s doing his thing. That guy is super good. He’s got it.”
Jenkins made his Bellator debut on June 31st, and stopped Mike Barreras in the second round to move his record to 4-0.
“MMA’s not wrestling man, it’s a whole different thing,” added Coy, who will fight welterweight Andy Uhrich at Bellator 101. “You’ve got to learn every aspect of it and it takes time, and it takes work. Bubba’s my boy, so I want the best for him. I want him to kick ass. He’s capable of being number one no doubt.”
Bellator 101 will be hosted by Portland’s Rose Garden Arena and will be broadcast on SPIKE.
The promotion’s ninth season kicks off this Saturday in Uncasville, Connecticut, which will feature middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko taking on Brett Cooper.