LAS VEGAS – Imagine it or not, Chase Hooper has fought simply as soon as contained in the UFC’s famed octagon.
One might simply assume it’s been extra, given the quantity of consideration he obtained each earlier than and after that UFC 245 look this previous December. He’s the M&M man, who at simply 20 years previous wouldn’t be sufficiently old to have a drink in Las Vegas, so he settled for some customized candies, as an alternative.
He’s additionally a UFC Struggle Cross information correspondent – well-known for performing as if he was Ben Askren’s son and asking Jorge Masvidal why he needed to brutalize his dad.
“I simply have enjoyable with it,” Hooper instructed MMA Junkie. “Like, I met the blokes from Struggle Cross for my final battle proper earlier than my debut, they usually had been tremendous cool, and we form of grew to become buddies. That’s how I’ve been getting these alternatives; they’re like, ‘Oh, hey, we might do that,’ after which they ask the higher-ups at Struggle Cross, they usually’re often like, ‘All proper, yeah, let’s do it.’ It’s cool to get the publicity, nevertheless it’s not something greater than us simply making an attempt to do cool stuff and put cool content material on the market.
“I’m glad for the chance to have the ability to form of present my character off somewhat extra, and it’s positively loopy to have this a lot occurring already with just one battle within the UFC as a result of it looks like I’ve been right here a very long time simply due to all of the stuff I’ve been doing with them.”
In fact, Hooper (9-0-1 MMA, 1-Zero UFC) can be a UFC featherweight prospect, as nicely. At Saturday’s UFC 250, he’ll step in in opposition to Alex Caceres (15-12 MMA, 10-10 UFC), a longtime veteran who made his promotional debut when Hooper was simply 11.
Hooper admits he really didn’t watch many fights in his youthful days however continues to be aware of Caceres’ work.
“I’ve positively seen him arising,” Hooper stated. “I wasn’t like an enormous fan of watching fights till I actually began entering into the combating a part of stuff, after I began doing MMA. However yeah, he was on one of many playing cards that my coach was on again within the day round 2011, so he’s positively been within the recreation for some time.
“As quickly as they introduced the title up, I instantly acknowledged it. However yeah, I believe that’s what I’m right here to do, is to attempt to battle the most effective guys and simply present how good my skillset is, so will probably be a very good check in opposition to a veteran man – however he’s additionally bought all the wear and tear and tear from being within the UFC for the previous 9, 10 years, that I don’t have coming in at 20. We’ll see the way it goes.”
At simply 20, Hooper goes to be much less skilled than simply about any opponent he might presumably face. However “The Teenage Dream” stated he actually does imagine his youth offers an actual bodily benefit.
“I don’t assume that there’s a manner that you may have 20 fights within the UFC and never get up up stiff each single morning and form of hating life somewhat bit,” Hooper stated. “Even the coaching I’ve finished, I’ve bought somewhat bit, however I do know that one you begin getting older, your physique’s not recovering as nicely. I can spar arduous each single day of the week if I actually wished to and get better the following day. Clearly I don’t need to do this to my mind, however yeah, I believe the restoration of being 20 years previous is a key profit that I’ve on this battle.”
So Hooper believes he’s bought time on his facet and is in no rush to cost up the UFC’s featherweight rankings. Within the meantime, he believes he can acquire priceless expertise whereas additionally having fun with himself within the course of. And if meaning some would possibly see him as a gimmick in the intervening time, that doesn’t actually hassle him all that a lot.
“I don’t actually care,” Hooper stated. “On the finish of the day, it’s like, it is a ridiculous job, and I can’t take it too significantly. If folks affiliate me with the Masvidal factor or Ben Askren at first, and that will get my title on the market, that’s not a knock on me – that’s me form of doing the best factor and accepting it. Rising up youthful, I got here up with the meme tradition, I suppose. That’s at all times been part of my life with the cell telephones and the Web and the memes, and I really feel like I can simply form of embrace that stuff, and I believe it’s extra real after I do as a result of if I discover it humorous, that’s what I need to go together with.
“I don’t appear like a severe kind of man, so I don’t need to be that man. That’s not my character, so I believe folks would simply see proper by means of that, and it could’t go over as nicely. So I’m simply form of doing my factor and having enjoyable with it, and simply actually making an attempt to benefit from the time that I’ve within the UFC. I’ve already finished it to this point, however the remainder of my profession, I need to simply have a very good time and revel in it. I don’t need to dread each battle or each interview or something like that. I simply need to have enjoyable with it and revel in myself.”
Selecting up one other UFC win will surely present somewhat extra pleasure. Hooper believes he can do precisely that on Saturday, and he’ll look to proceed his present trajectory.
“It looks like they’re simply going to maintain placing playing cards out, so if I can preserve getting on these, preserve getting good fights, so long as I don’t get damage or something, I’m simply going to maintain it rolling as a lot as I can and attempt to construct myself in and out of doors of the octagon,” Hooper stated.
UFC 250 takes place Saturday on the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The primary card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on UFC Struggle Cross/ESPN+.