Up until about the third minute of his fight last weekend in Las Vegas, UFC featherweight and Ultimate Fighter winner Jonathan Brookins was actually beating up Dustin Poirier. This seemed to surprise pretty much everyone, including Jonathan Brookins. Not because he didn’t believe he was capable of beating Poirier, but because he didn’t want to be fighting at all. Walking into the Octagon that night, his mind was 1,000 miles away—or rather 8,000 miles away—floating through the ether.
Next month, Brookins will be traveling to India on a spiritual quest, and he doesn’t know when or even if he’ll be back. After winning the Ultimate Fighter in 2010, Brookins has been on something of a downward slide—going 1-4 in the UFC, losing his house in Orlando after most of his money had run out. Since then, he’s bounced around from couch to couch and gym to gym, searching for something. Now that his fight with Poirier is in the past, Brookins feels free to go searching outside the world of mixed martial arts. This made us curious, so we called him recently at his home in Orlando, where he’s getting ready for his next, more spiritual, journey.
FIGHTLAND: So you mentioned having to sell your house. Is it hard to make a career in MMA, even when you’ve made it to the UFC?
Jonathan Brookins: It’s not hard to make a career in the UFC. If you really want it, you can make it happen. I think I just talked myself out of really wanting it. I don’t know if I talked myself out of it or if I really don’t want it anymore. That made it tough to keep going and to fight last weekend. I didn’t really have much fight left in me. I kind of hit a dead end. I definitely had my mind on other things I wanted to do and pursue. I just stopped believing in the fight business and stopped believing in what it was I was even doing.
Were you in the Octagon thinking about India?
I think I was. I think I was ready to go to India and learn something else. Pursuing this sport with the mindset that I have is counterproductive. It didn’t make sense. Mindset is everything. If this is what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, it can’t just be a circular argument. It can’t just be about nothing. This quest to be a fighter has gotten to be frivolous, to be the wrong pursuit. I know it can be pursued the right way, but I know I'm not anywhere close to it. I’m not really down to live this temporary, right-now way of life.