PFL Championship 2021: Ray Cooper III Says Magomedkerimov Needs to “Watch Out for What I’m Going to Do to Him”

Fort Lauderdale, FL — Hawaii’s Ray Cooper III has perhaps the biggest opportunity of any championship hopeful on Wednesday’s PFL card.

The PFL 2021 World Championship event boasts six title fights, each with a belt and a million dollars on the line. For Cooper, however, the reward is potentially that much greater: with a win, he’ll claim back-to-back world championships, and avenge his loss to Magomed Magomedkerimov in the 2018 welterweight final.

While there’s a rivalry between the duo to be sure, Cooper made clear in speaking to reporters during Monday’s PFL 2021 World Championship media day that he has no hatred toward Magomedkerimov. Rather, “it’s just competition. I’d like to get back what I lost, and show I improved from the last fight. The most important thing is winning the title, and getting to this position in the finals. That’s my only concern.”

The Hawaiian is brimming with confidence despite the previous loss to his opponent, and said Monday that “I don’t really got to watch out for anything. He’s got to watch out for what I’m going to do to him.” Cooper went on to add that he’s not really focused on what Magomedkerimov is going to do. “He’s going to get some pressure coming to him, and hopefully he can adapt, but I don’t think so.”

Cooper enters the night off a big win over former Bellator MMA welterweight champion Rory MacDonald, a fight in which he likely proved a number of critics wrong. MacDonald had been the favorite to win the season the second he arrived in the PFL, after all.

For Cooper, however, it was just about having faith in his own abilities. “I don’t know about proving anybody wrong. I just believe in myself,” he explained. “[Other] people, they don’t know, they don’t know the fight game, they don’t know what we as fighters go through throughout camp, throughout this week, throughout getting ready to go into the cage. Everybody’s just talking, and that’s all they can do it talk.”

“Rory’s a great competitor, it was just, we’ll see whose training was better, and obviously mine, and my wrestling was better than is,” Cooper continued. “I believe that all the time, and in myself I believe. It was a good win, because he’s a great champion and a great competitor.”

Some people appear to have forgotten that Cooper can wrestle, however. “Yeah, when I came into the PFL people didn’t think I had wrestling because I was finishing guys so quickly,” the Hawaiian agreed. “But I grew up wrestling, not many people know that.”

Watch the full PFL 2021 World Championship media day appearance from Ray Cooper III above. More coverage can be found below. The event takes place this Wednesday, October 27, 2021 in Hollywood, FL.