Ray Cooper III brings unadulterated violence to the Professional Fighters League (PFL) cage, and he says that does not bode well for a damage-adverse Rory MacDonald.
The PFL Welterweight semifinals playoff bout between Cooper III vs. MacDonald headlines PFL 7, which will take place inside Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., streaming online via ESPN2. MacDonald — a former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight title challenger and former Bellator 170-pound champion — is Cooper’s biggest opponent to date, but he doesn’t particularly care.
“I’m going to run through him. He’s not the same he used to be. He’s just another guy in my way,” Cooper tells MMAMania.com.
“I don’t think he’s on a decline,” he continued. “I think he’s the same guy, he’s just changed up a few things that won’t allow him to take as much damage as he used to,” he elaborates. “He’s structured his game around not taking as much damage now. That’s why he doesn’t look as vicious, but he’s still a vicious fighter. But I’m a vicious fighter also and I don’t think he can handle my pressure.”
Cooper (22-7-1, 14 KOs) has been a member of PFL’s roster dating back to 2018 and is the defending 2019 PFL Welterweight tournament winner. While he’s open to where the future takes him, the 28-year-old Hawaiian has no plans to leave the company.
“As of right now, I feel that I’m good at PFL,” Cooper said. “I’m making way more than I would fighting anywhere else. I think I’ll want to stay with PFL for a while. We’ll see what lays down the road. My focus is on winning multiple million-dollar tournaments and defending this title.”
Born in (and fighting out of) Pearl City, Hawaii, Cooper admits he’s not well-connected with the island culture or other Hawaiin mixed martial artists.
“I just do me. I’m not here to worry about other Hawaiian fighters. I don’t really associate myself with any of them. Probably the only one is B.J. He is a big inspiration in my fighting career from when I was young. Besides my dad, B.J. is the number one guy I look up to and have been looking up,” he shares. “That style of fight [that] he brought to the table. It was just how Hawaiin people are. We just scrap. That’s what I do. I don’t go in there to point fight or play around with you. I’m trying to rip your head off every time I fight.”
Finished reading this story? The party doesn’t have to stop. Click here to get more exclusive interviews.