Heading into 2018, Ray Cooper III was a relative unknown for anyone Outside Hawaii. He had been coming off a split decision loss against Handesson Ferreira at a Mid-Pacific Championships struggle that virtually no body at the continental U.S. paid focus on. But, as a challenging Hawaiian kid on the verge of breaking , he signed up with PFL as akind of intrigue, as the PFL season-to-playoffs arrangement is meant to unearth talent whilst giving a million-dollar dangling carrot to the pros of their transaction.
Well, through four struggles at PFL, Cooper is no longer an intrigue — he’s the guy to overcome.
“Bradda Boy” began his conduct with the promotion by taking the prior Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields earlier this July, a feat that opened a eyes right off the bat. To follow up that, he blew up Pavel Kusch in 18 minutes to set the PFL listing for quickest conclusion. After getting the No. 1 seed at the welterweight playoffs, he attracted none other than Jake Shields again last weekend at the quarterfinals bracket. He would be requested to duplicate his accomplishment.
So what exactly did he perform? Second verse, same as the first — just this time he finished Shields quicker, at the first round in contrast to the 2nd.
“I knew how it was going to return from the first struggle,” Cooper told MMA Fighting. “I know my ground game is strong and I have good wrestling, however, no body really knows the way that I moan. I’ve ever been sort of putting guys off status, therefore that I only wanted to make the journey into the bottom to prove I could handle anyone on the ground, even the very best guys. So it had been sort of proof that I’m also the top guy today. ”
If this wasn’t proof enough, Cooper got an opportunity to avenge himself against Ferreira in the semifinals, held that same night at Washington D.C.. This time he was competent to punish Ferreira with his powerful right hand, and score a first-round TKO to punch his ticket into the welterweight finals, that occurs at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 31.
2 KOs at 1 night, and a perfect 4-0 record thus far from 2018, with a chance to cap the year off with a million bucks? The 25-year older Cooper has arrivedjust in time to be one of those Must Watch titles at the PFL.
“I said I was going to try so,” Cooper said on Mondayback home in Hawaii. “I said I was the underdog coming to this tournament, and nobody really knew who I was, however, that I still knew my own ability. I demonstrated it that night, and now I’m at the finals. ”
Like Cooper, Magomedkerimov showcased a piece of his power by completing Velickovic in the semis in fairly stern fashion.
Not that it had been that impressive for Cooper, who is as relaxed into these things as island life could yield.
“He’s not …nonetheless, I don’t even find him giving me such a thing,” Cooper says. I’m going to take it , just like I did at my past two conflicts. And that I ’m likely to finish too from the first round, therefore he’s going to have the ability to handle my pressure. There’s not much room to conduct, and in the course of time I’m going to catch him. ”
In Cooper’s TKO of all Shields, he also landed a seemingly flush right hands off a break which hurt Shields and sent him reeling. From that point it had been the start of the end for the longtime struggle game stalwart, who’s fought in some of the very historic battles in MMA history. Cooper pounced, and minutes afterward Shields was throughout.
“That perfect hand, I didn&; rsquo;t even catch him very good — he had been kinda falling when I grabbed him,” Cooper admits. “I grabbed him on the top of your pinnacle. I used to be landing a few shots that were clean. ”
As for avenging his loss into Ferreira — that the last person to overcome him Cooper’s-voice doesn’t even raise an octave when asked what it meant.
“Yeah, I was kinda very happy to re-match him,” he says. “The very first oneI wasn’t really training for this struggle and that I knew I could have overcome him. He knew that he was a rough man, his ground game was fine. However, I knew I could do what I wanted with himand that I did. It turned out to be a good fight. ”
Cooper arrived of his two-fight, 4,750-mile boat into the East Coast at near-mint condition. Shields never really landed such a thing clean , and Ferreira didn’t fare much better. Maybe beating the individual names which the PFL saddled him with doesn’t even get a obvious increase out of himbut concept of fighting twice in 1 night does.
Cooper says he loved having multiple conflicts on precisely the same night, as it brought back memories.
“that I only put back into the wrestling style of, once you wrestle in the quarterfinals, you win, you reach the semifinals, you win, you moan in the finals that same day,” he says. “Therefore that I had been ready for everything. ”
“It was wonderful. I’d so much fun doing this. I brought me straight back into my own kid when I was able to wrestle. I got really eager to struggle back again, along with also my passion for fighting will be burning even stronger to complete it again next year. I presume PFL is going to shoot over. Nobody does so, no body struggles twice at a night. Everyone rsquo;s becoming hurt, or else they can’t even handle the asterisk of fighting twice at a night. But merely really fighters knowback at the PRIDE days how they used to perform. That’s the actual art of fighting, knowing you can go yet long, against individuals. ”
Cooper along with his father Ray Cooper Jr., who battled and dropped Shields straight back in 2004 — possess an MMA business straight back on the staircase. Should he topple Magomedkerimov to gain the million dollarshe says he wishes to pump the amount of cash into your family business and return on the horse.
“This really is only 1 step closer to my goal,” he says. “I feel very happy with caring of my family, and that I ’m so so blessed to have my own dad training me. He’s been putting in the job, and that I expect to treat him today. I was supposed to move into college, and that I choose not to struggle five decades ago. Now it’so happening, and I’m getting an opportunity to really look after my own family. I feel really blessed. ”
Cooper affords himself a little chuckle when contemplating that which he thinks is still available for him.
“I ain’t finished,” he says. “I’m going to go after everyone, proceed after all the champions. My goal is always to be the best on earth, and are the best you’ve made to struggle the thicker men, not the lower guys. You’ve got to proceed after the 185ers, the 205ers, and the heavyweights, and the heavyweights are the baddest men on Earth. That’so I anticipate to, fighting the strongest guys on Earth. ”