Only one man has beaten Will Brooks, the Bellator MMA lightweight champion. And Saad Awad believes Brooks has been sore about it ever since that fight two years ago.
Recently, the two got into it on Twitter. Awad said he shut it down, though, because it didn't make sense to beef unless a rematch was forthcoming.
"I said something and it was towards him, but not against him," Awad said at a Bellator media day in Los Angeles earlier this month. "And he kind of took it and got a little bit sour over it. I think he's still bitter, because I'm the only guy that beat him. So I think he's always going to be bitter. Besides that, I don't have beef with anybody."
Awad (18-6) obviously wants another crack at Brooks since Brooks is now the champion. But first Awad will have to get by Patricky Freire in the co-main event of Bellator 141 on Friday night at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif.
Brooks beat Awad in a rematch, also in 2013. So if they fight again, it'll be a trilogy and rubber match. Awad knocked Brooks out in just 43 seconds the first time the two fought. The second time, Brooks won a unanimous decision.
Brooks defends his title against Marcin Held at Bellator 145: Vengeance on Nov. 5 in St. Louis. Awad wants to be next in line, but he isn't sure. He is fearful that Melvin Guillard getting a main event slot in his Bellator debut is a bad sign for him.
"It's unfortunate having other lightweights headlining the card," Awad said. "To me, it looks like who they want, you know? You never know. With an exciting performance, it can put you ahead of the pack."
Guillard is in the mix now at 155 and so is recent signee Josh Thomson. With Michael Chandler, Dave Jansen, David Rickels, Held and Freire still around, things are getting crowded at the top. Awad thinks someone like Guillard could have an inside track due to his reputation as a top lightweight for years in the UFC.
"I think he could be, because his name," Awad said. "I take nothing from him. I know he didn't put his time in Bellator, but he has put his time in MMA. He has some big wins and he's an exciting fighter."
All Awad, 32, can really do is keep winning. The California native has three straight victories since that loss to Brooks and his only two losses in the last four years have come against Brooks and Rickels. With training partners like Lorenz Larkin and Georgi Karakhanyan at Millennia MMA, Awad has all the preparation necessary to take that next step.
He also believes the matchup with Freire (13-6) works in his -- and the fan's -- favor.
"He doesn't run," Awad said. "I don't run. I think it's going to make for a good fight."
Awad wasn't running from the Twitter exchange with Brooks, either. It's just something he'll revisit when the time comes.
"I don't even get into it," Awad said. "Once it started happening, I was like, 'I'm not gonna be that guy that goes back and forth for nothing when I don't have a fight.'"