When it comes to his win over Kenny Cross this past February at Lights Out Championship 2, middleweight Korey Kuppe feels like he had to overcome a very good opponent to get a third-round submission.
While Kuppe feels Cross has a bright future ahead of him, being the more experienced of the two fighters paid off, as he was able to control the pace of the fight and get the win.
“This kid (Cross) is an up and coming phenom,” Kuppe told MMAWeekly.com. “I think he’s going to be really talented, a really good wrestler.
“He was weight class lower than me, so he had good cardio, good speed, and I really had to slow the pace of the fight down with my jiu-jitsu game and find a hole that I could take advantage of.”
When it comes to the 2019 version of himself, Kuppe feels like he continues to evolve to the point to where he’s far superior to where he was at this time last year.
“I notice a crazy difference,” said Kuppe. “This is my tenth year in MMA. I just feel everything is coming together right now; from the takedown defense, grappling, I feel comfortable everywhere. It’s beautiful. It’s time to peak.
“Thankfully, I really do love this sport, and I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can and as long as I’m not taking damage.”
On Saturday in Grand Rapids, Mich., Kuppe (7-3) will look to pick up his second win of the year when he faces Erick Lozano (11-15) in the 185-pound title main event of Lights Out Championship 4.
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“It’s a tough match-up,” Kuppe said. “(Lozano is) very strong, very durable and has a lot of heart. He’s very experienced. He has 25 pro fights.
“I think my submission game is always a threat. I think I have the best guard of any of the up and coming guys right now. I’m going to have to use my distance, use my karate, my reach and jab, and dominate him from the outside and dominate him on the mat.”
With a win on June 29, Kuppe would like to secure the business side of his fighting career before making a potential run at the next level.
“I think right after this fight I’m going to audition for some management companies and find somebody who can get me a big fight somewhere,” said Kuppe.
“I want to get a big UFC or overseas fight after I pick up the win. I want to find a management company who can help me get that done. I’ve been self-managed the whole way and it’s pretty tough.”