If you didn’t see the Alexander Shlemenko vs Brett Cooper fight last September at Bellator 98, then you are probably living in a cave. Hands down one of the most entertaining fights of the year. It was a five round war. For many, that was when you first heard the name Brett Cooper. But “Fudoshin” has been doing his thing for over 8 years, fighting out of Mark Munoz’s camp at Reign MMA.
You’ve been around the game for a long time. Making your debut over 8 years ago. Now 19-9 and coming off a war and fight of the year candidate against Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 98 back in September. That was the second time you’ve lost a decision to Shlemenko. Having time to look back on that fight, what was that experience like and what if anything would you do different if you got the opportunity to face off with him again?
Cooper: The experience from this fight was normal other than the fact that I supposed to be I the tournament and 3 1/2 weeks before the fight I found out I was fighting Alexander in a title fight. So instead of a 3 rd fight it was a 5 rounder. My overall gameplan was good I think. My physical shape was not where I wanted it to be. The thing I would do different is come in better shape and some technical things I would change. Also I have learned things that worked for and I have got me to where I am. Can’t abandon those things.
Training out of California with UFC veterans like Mark Munoz, James Irvin & Jake Ellenberger at Reign MMA comes with some pressure. What’s it like competing with guys of that caliber day in and day out and how much better does it make you getting ready for your own fights in Bellator?
Cooper: I like Mark as a person and as an athlete that’s why I train at his gym. Training with people that are world class level is important to keep yourself sharp.
You didn’t have the traditional way into MMA via one of the disciplines (wrestling, jiu jitsu, boxing etc.). What was your inspiration for getting into mixed martial arts and who were some of your early inspirations?
Cooper: I believe MMA is the truest form of competition. Two people in a confined space, limited equipment and rules. You get to go in there and show who your are.
You were a fill-in against Shlemenko, replacing the man that defeated you in the Bellator Season 8 Middleweight Tournament Final, Doug Marshall. Is that a fight you are looking to avenge and what is next for you? Any fights currently lined up?
Cooper: Yes, once Marshall is back from his suspension for being a cheating POS, I would love to smash his face. And after that the Russian has it coming too.
A lot of your fights have ended via TKO/KO(12). Only 2 submissions. But watching your fights, you take it all over the place, the ground, striking. Are you more comfortable on your feet and striking and try for the knockout or is that just the way it works out?
Cooper: I’m comfortable everywhere but I’m a knockout artist, whether it happens on the ground or the feet just depends on the fight.
As a fighter, what was your most memorable fight and as a fan what is the one fight that either made you love this sport or really stands out as your favorite of all time. If you had your pick, anyone throughout the history of MMA, who would be your dream opponent?
Cooper: Hard question for me to answer. There are many memorable but none that I could say are the most. All the people that I want to fight are here now not in the past. I just want to fight top competition to showcase my skills and passion. Winning the the Bellator belt and holding it until I retire would suit me well.
Brett, thanks for taking the time. Anyone you’d like to thank (Sponsors)? And where can fans find more info on you or stay up to date with you?
Cooper: I would like to thank Reebok and Future Legend. Also everybody that helps me in life. I’m starting my own gym in Signal Hill, CA which will be offering MMA, judo, and fitness classes. The grand opening will be in the beginning of next month. You can follow me on twitter @BrettCoopermma or like my fan page Facebook under Brett “Fudoshin” Cooper. Thank you