Since turning pro in late 2017, featherweight Chase Hooper has put his energy into developing his game more so than anything else.
For Hooper, the more his game is developed, the easier it will be to take advantage of opportunities he’s given.
“My main focus of my career so far has probably been getting my stand-up on par with my grappling,” Hooper told MMAWeekly.com. “I feel like these past couple fights I’ve been coming into my own and figuring out what I want my style to be and what works best for me.
“Like my last fight, it’s the best example of what I want to be doing fighting-wise: getting the fight to the ground and demolishing him there. I’m getting more focused on using my strengths and not trying to out-box guys who are boxers or out-wrestle wrestlers, but just using my strengths against theirs.”
Having gone undefeated in his first eight fights, including a win at Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018, Hooper has made a name enough for himself that he’s been given chances to gain exposure outside the cage itself, including being able to throw out a first pitch in a Major League Baseball game prior to his next fight.
“They have it set up, both my opponent and I, we’re going to throw out the first pitch at a Marlins game,” said Hooper. “I think it’s going to be a good time.
“Every time you can do something out of fighting is like icing on the cake. It’s another cool experience of that I get to be a part of. Regardless I’m going to go for it with the pitch and we’ll see if I embarrass myself or not.”
On Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Hooper (7-0-1) will look to remain undefeated when he faces Luis Gomez (7-3) in the featherweight co-main event of Titan FC 55.
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“He’s a judo guy, who I guess hits pretty hard, but I’m expecting him to come out hard, come out fast and try to bully me fast, but the thing is that’s a style that works real well for me,” Hooper said of Gomez. “I like it when guys come out hard and I don’t have to pitter patter or worry about pushing the issue.
“I feel like my ground is going to be way better, so I just have to weather the storm a little bit, and work my stand-up enough to get it to the ground, and once it goes to the ground it will be all me dominating.”
For the second half of 2019, Hooper would like to finish out with multiple fights and potentially find himself at the next level if possible.
“My goal is to get as many fights as I can before the end of the year,” said Hooper. “I’d like to fight again maybe in August, October and December, like two or three more this year.
“I just want to work my way towards the UFC. They if want to throw me in before the end of the year, if everything is going well, I feel like I’m getting towards the point where I’m more than ready for that.”