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Will Brooks responds to 'almost embarrassing' trash talk from Michael Chandler

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The rivalry between Will Brooks and Michael Chandler runs deeper than most in the MMA space.

In the time since Brooks twice defeated Chandler in 2014 to seize the Bellator lightweight title, the two fighters have seemingly traded barbs every few months, with Chandler often taking the offensive. That happened again two weeks ago when Chandler unloaded on Brooks as a boring fighter, a whiner, and "the epitome of a bad employee."

And frankly, Brooks is sick of hearing about it.

"That guy goes out of his way to put on this routine that, ‘I'm this God-fearing guy. I've never done this. I'd never do this. I'm just a professional all the way through,'" Brooks said Monday on The MMA Hour. "But then when you hear him talk on these interviews, he's always talking trash about me. He's talking trash about what's-his-face, Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez.

"Dude, why are you talking trash about them? You're not even going to fight them. Why are you even going to worry about them? Why are you talking trash about me? Whenever you look at my Twitter, whenever you see any interviews, you don't see me talking about Michael Chandler."

Chandler's latest rant sprung up from a conversation about the former champion's fight against Josh Thomson at Bellator's May 14 tentpole. The booking left Brooks without a viable opponent for his next title defense and left many observers to wonder why Bellator was ignoring the belt, but Chandler shrugged off the notion by launching into a lengthy attack against Brooks' public relationship with the company, which has at times been strained.

Chandler reasoned that Brooks' attitude towards Bellator has put him behind the eight ball when it comes to opportunities, and in that regard, Brooks said that he agrees "somewhat" with Chandler. But he also isn't sure why Chandler keeps talking about him in the first place, considering the two already settled their differences inside the cage.

"I don't go out of my way to talk about Chandler," Brooks said. "But for some odd reason he's constantly talking trash about me. He's constantly saying, ‘I'm not going to talk trash about such-and-such, I'm not going to be that guy,' but all he's been doing is talking trash about me, talking trash to Thomson, talking trash to guys who don't even fight in the organization. It's almost embarrassing."

Following his second loss to Brooks, Chandler went on record stating that he would've won "hands down" if the two had fought seven months later at Bellator 138. He subsequently called Brooks a "crybaby" with a "victim mentality" for a post-event rant after Bellator Dynamite 1.

Now, after Chandler's latest salvo, Brooks can't help but think that he must "live free" in Chandler's mind.

"At least when the fans hear me talk, they'll hear me," Brooks said. "The real Will Brooks. They'll never hear me try to be anything other than who I am, or try to be this perfect person. But he's crazy, man. He drives me crazy."