(Images via Sherdog, @MikeUSMCRichman)
By Elias Cepeda
You may have never heard of Brett Cooper (18-7), but chances are you know a lot of the guys he’s beaten. The middleweight has scored victories against six veterans of the UFC, Strikeforce, and WEC over the course of his eight-year career.
Tonight at Bellator 92, Cooper fights another UFC veteran – TUF 7 castmember Dan Cramer – in the semifinals of Bellator’s Season 8 Middleweight tournament, airing on Spike. The 25-year-old Southern-California native’s journey towards respect and notoriety has been long and hard since he decided he wanted to become a mixed martial arts fighter.
His interest was as it is now, simple but hard to explain. “I was always an athlete as a kid, and in all the sports I did I always wanted to be the best,” Cooper tells CagePotato.
“When I started training martial arts, I figured the way to show you’re the best at that was to fight in MMA. So, when I first walked into a gym, I told the coaches, ‘I want to be a fighter,’” he laughs.
Cooper admits that people like that often get dismissed or laughed at in serious gyms. But the kid stuck with it and threw himself into the deep end, fighting early and often. Cooper was seventeen the first time he fought as a professional, though it wasn’t until a couple years later that he says he started thinking of himself as a pro.
“I didn’t start to take it as a professional thing until I was around twenty years old,” he says. “Around that time, I fought Rory Markham, I fought [Jason] Von Flue. I started to take it more seriously and train even better, to fight those guys.”