Former Bellator Lightweight Champ ‘Ill’ Will Brooks Cut by UFC, Joins PFL

Will Brooks
Credit: Dave Mandel/

Will Brooks departure from the UFC comes as no surprise, but joining the PFL may turn a few heads.

The Will Brooks experiment in the UFC is over. Like Eddie Alvarez, Brooks joined the UFC as a former Bellator MMA lightweight champion with a lot of upside. Unlike Alvarez, however, Brooks was never able to achieve the success necessary to break into the top of the weight class. On Wednesday, Brooks announced he’d been cut by the UFC — but landed on his feet with the Professional Fighters League.

Brooks (18-4) finished his UFC run having gone 1-4 in the promotion, losing his final three bouts. He pulled off a unanimous decision win in his debut against former Ultimate Fighter winner Ross Pearson, but following that, was finished in each of his next three fights. Those losses included a TKO by Alex Oliveira, and submissions to Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz. Having gone on the dreaded 0-3 run and finished each time, the writing was on the wall.

The good news for Brooks is that he’ll have the opportunity to pocket a million dollars in the PFL’s season-style format later this year. Brooks himself announced the news, and immediately, he becomes a fighter to watch in the promotion.

“I’m extremely excited and fired up to be part of the @ProFightLeague and their rebirth” Brooks said in a post to Instagram (referring to the PFL having been reborn from its former moniker, the World Series of Fighting). “I look forward to being a pivotal part of the PFL’s growth in this sport.”

Interestingly, one of the PFL’s bigger names, welterweight Jon Fitch, was recently in talks with Brooks’ old home, Bellator MMA, having finished his contract. At the end of the PFL’s inaugural season, the winner of each weight class will take home $1 million dollars U.S. The promotion announced a broadcast deal with NBC SN (where it currently airs) and Facebook earlier this year.

Back in Bellator, Brooks captured a pair of wins against one of the promotion’s biggest homegrown stars, Michael Chandler. Both wins came in title fights, first for the interim lightweight title, then the undisputed crown. Brooks then defended the promotion’s 155lb belt twice prior to signing with the UFC.


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