Ray Cooper III is the defending PFL welterweight champion, but has seemingly been overshadowed by the arrival of Rory MacDonald this year.
Still, Cooper returns at this week’s PFL 5 card, with
six five points already in hand. Just like MacDonald. He had been looking to clinch a playoff spot with another big showing — also just like MacDonald. But more on that later.
This time out, Cooper goes up against Nikolay Aleksakhin. It’s a fight he’s taking the same as any other, despite a playoff berth in the offing. “I’ll take him out the same way I do everybody, and put the pace on him. Where ever the fight goes, I’m going to finish him.”
Finishing is key for Cooper. Despite already having a good number of points, there’s no change in what the Hawaiian aims to do this Thursday. “There’s no changes to the plan. Go out there, get the six points, stay at the top, and be number one heading into the playoffs,” he stated.
None of that is likely to happen, however, because of a miss at the scales on Wednesday. Cooper weighed in at 171.8lbs, missing the welterweight limit. He was docked a point, and cannot win any additional points at PFL 5 — thought the fight will move forward, and he potentially can still make the playoffs
After being seen as a budding star in 2018, Cooper really arrived in 2019, winning the million dollar welterweight tournament. That has led to a bit of a “what if” situation regarding Cooper moving to the UFC at some point.
“I dunno yet. I think I’m fine where I’m at. The PFL treats me good,” Cooper said, responding to the idea of switching promotions. “I don’t know, we’ll see. Right now I’m focused on this fight, I’m not thinking of any other company. I’m thinking of this fight, getting to the championship and defending my title.”
Watch the full PFL 5 media scrum with Ray Cooper III above.