PFL Playoffs 1: Ray Cooper III Talks Growth Ahead of Magomedkerimov Rematch

Ray Cooper III is headed to his third consecutive PFL post-season later this year.

With a decisive decision win over former Bellator champ and UFC contender Rory MacDonald on Friday atop the PFL Playoffs 1 card, welterweight Cooper now finds himself in a rematch with 2018 champ Magomed Magomedkerimov.

How have things changed since the pair’s first meeting that year? “I got a little bit more controlled in my approach to the fight. I was still young, I was a young man, and I’ve grown from that time we fought before,” Cooper III said during Friday’s post-fight press conference. “I’m ready for the next fight.”

Asked to elaborate on what had changed since that first fight, the 2019 champ stated that “it’s just again, I had more fights within the company. In two years, I had ten fights, or more than that now, I have like what, 13 fights now? That’s the most I’ve fought ever.” And Cooper doesn’t see fighters in other promotions getting that sort of activity.

“I don’t see any other organization with their fighters fighting as many times as we have,” he continued. “I think that maturity just grows with fighting and being active, and that’s what the PFL does.”

Of course, the league did take the 2020 season off due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We got stagnant for that one year,” Cooper acknowledged, “but it wasn’t too bad. I was good, I was training off and on. I’m always ready to fight. Whenever they call me to fight, I’m going to show up, and I’m going to fight every single time.”

Cooper first faced Magomed Magomedkerimov in the finale of the 2018 season. The rematch will come in this year’s tournament final, set for October 27.

You can watch the full PFL Playoffs 1 post-fight press conference, with all the big winners from the event, above.