TUF 12 winner Jonathan Brookins has healed from a broken orbital bone and is now looking to return in New Orleans at UFC Battle on the Bayou in September.


With the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ season 13 finale just hours away, season 12 winner Jonathan Brookins will be in the corner of his teammate Ramsey Nijem as he tries to become the latest champion of the show.

Being a friend and supporter is a role Brookins plays with extreme happiness, but it doesn’t mean he’s not wishing that he was stepping back in the Octagon on Saturday night as well.

Since winning the show last December, Brookins has twice been scheduled for fights and twice he’s had to drop out due to injuries.

The latest forced him out of a bout against John Makdessi at UFC 129 in Toronto.

“I broke my orbital in my eye so they wouldn’t let me fight, cause it kind of messed up my face a tiny bit, but it didn’t affect me too bad other than the fact that I couldn’t fight and I couldn’t really spar. It took the full contact part out of the equation, which is pretty necessary. That was a bummer,” Brookins told MMAWeekly.com about the injury.

The time off has been hard for Brookins who has always been extremely active fighter throughout his career. The season 12 winner did have time to reflect while he was forced out and he sees some choices that he made that may have been leading him down the wrong path.

“It’s been tough, but a lot of it has been my own fault. I had a tough time just in my personal experience just finding the right rhythm to make a lot of conducive choices to my career, my life, and things like that. It’s taken me a little time to get that rhythm back, but I feel like I’m on the right track now and meeting up with the right people. It’s really frustrating to go out here and watch this fight and know that I’m supposed to be fighting,” Brookins said.

“People tell me ‘oh it was a freak injury’ and I know that it was, but I feel like if I had been doing everything right in my life I would have been right where I was supposed to be.”

While Brookins didn’t expand too much on what he changed in his personal life, in his professional life he made the change to begin working with a team of fighters in Utah including former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ winner Court McGee and this year’s finalist Ramsey Nijem. He said eliminating bad influences and adding positive people into his life have made all the difference.

“Just taking initiative and getting out of stagnant places and going to train with new people and opening myself up to new avenues, rather than kind of just sitting in one spot,” Brookins stated.

The work is paying off and now that his orbital bone is healed, Brookins is ready to get back in action and the UFC has given him a date for his return.

“Health wise I’m good. It’s looking like I’m going to be fighting Sept 17, I look forward to that. Sept 17 in Louisiana, Battle on the Bayou,” Brookins revealed.

While he doesn’t have an opponent yet, much like previous match-ups he was scheduled for with John Makdessi and Jeremy Stephens, Brookins is expecting a tough fight.

“I suspect they wanted to test me in the first one, so I imagine they’re still wanting to test me with a good opponent,” said Brookins.

The fire is already building inside of Brookins’ to get back in there and compete and if he had his wish he’d be fighting alongside of his teammate Nijem this weekend instead of cheering for him from the sidelines. For Jonathan Brookins, September can’t get here soon enough.

“It’s started to ache me to the core that I’m not fighting,” Brookins said. “This is the longest that I’ve ever had without a fight. It really motivates me to kind of get a handle on things and press forward in a positive way.”

Jonathan Brookins will also be appearing this Sunday at The Gun Store in Las Vegas from 2 to 4pm PT along with Court McGee and TUF 13 finalist Ramsey Nijem.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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@DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon a question or comment.


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