Fresh off his second straight PFL championship, Ray Cooper III’s confidence is sky high.
Cooper (24-7-1) captured the welterweight title with a comeback knockout of Magomed Magomedkerimov in the 2021 PFL Championship last month, capping off another $1 million season.
The 28-year-old Hawaiian is coming off two of the biggest wins of his career over former UFC title challenger and Bellator champ Rory MacDonald and 2018 PFL champ Magomedkerimov, proving he’s more than capable of hanging with the elite.
When asked how he would fair against UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman (19-1 MMA, 14-0 UFC) and Colby Covington (16-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC), who square off in Saturday’s UFC 268 main event, Cooper said he has no doubts he could prevail against both.
“Yeah, of course,” Cooper told MMA Junkie Radio. “Those two guys I guarantee I can beat, especially Colby Covington. I think I’d run him over. Kamaru Usman is a great champion, but I think I’m the best. I can stand and I can trade and I can grapple. I don’t think anybody has pushed Usman like I will. I think I would put the pressure on him, and I would knock him out. His hands are nothing spectacular. I think everybody is just afraid of his wrestling because he’s a great wrestler. But I ain’t afraid of his wrestling – I can take him down.”
Cooper likely won’t get a chance to prove that as long as he’s under the PFL banner, but he’d love to see all the champions from different organizations battle it out and see who the No. 1 170-pounder is.
“Hopefully one day in the future, all the companies unify all the belts and make champions from other organizations fight each other and see who’s the best – the lineal champion,” Cooper said. “So hopefully one day we can go out and challenge other promotions and see who’s the best.”
Photos: Best of 2021 PFL Championship
view 63 images
UFC 268 pre-event facts: Kamaru Usman threatening Anderson Silva’s win-streak record