Lito "Thunder Kid" Adiwang is certain that Jarred "The Monkey God" Brooks is just trying to get into his head.
Brooks said he believes Adiwang is better than his teammate and reigning ONE strawweight champion Joshua "The Passion" Pacio in their faceoff last week, ahead of their main event clash at ONE: NextGen III on November 26.
Adiwang thinks it's just a way for the American to throw him off focus, though he's having none of it.
"I think part of it is him playing mind games. He's trying to create a rift between Joshua and me. Maybe he's thinking that if we fight, I might [lose] focus," he said.
"But as we've been saying on Team Lakay, we're a team, we're a family, and we help each other. And I know that won't affect my relationship with Joshua."
The pair has been entangled in a war of words since their original bout was scheduled for last April, but Adiwang had to pull out after contracting COVID-19.
They continued to talk smack, though in the faceoff Brooks backed off a bit after realizing that Adiwang is for real.
"I believe that at first, he didn't really know me. He wasn't able to check me and scout me. He was so confident against me early on. That's why he was quick to comment and talk smack, [saying things like he'd] cut my hair and shut me up," Adiwang said.
"But the fight got cancelled, and I think that was a good thing for me. I was able to prepare well, and he was able to see how I really perform. And I think I got his respect."
Now, Adiwang believes he has gotten into Brooks' head.
"If you put me in his shoes," the Filipino said, "I wouldn't want to face me either. So maybe that’s why he's mellowed down."