When Amanda Cooper received the impending news the UFC would not be renewing her contract, she wasn’t devastated. Instead she was relaxed and at peace with the parting of ways.
The 27-year-old had been with the promotion since 2016. Following a stint on TUF 23, Cooper (3-5 MMA, 2-4 UFC) was thrown into the deep end of the pool, taking on UFC-level talent with only a pair of pro fights to her credit.
“I was kind of relieved in a way that I started with the UFC with only two fights,” Cooper told MMA Junkie. “I kind of had to grow up in the hardest organization in the world with only having two fights. It was tough. Every fight was the hardest fight of my life. Grinding through so many hard training sessions. (I have) a little bit of relief knowing that I can fight wherever, get my own fights, get my own opponents, my own timeframe. The UFC was always, whatever they needed me to do, I had to say yes to.”
She added, “I wasn’t too upset. Obviously, I want to be in the UFC. Everyone wants to be in the UFC. But like I said, having the toughest fights throughout your entire career was a lot at 1-1 as a pro when I first got in there.”
While the news flew under the radar until this week, Cooper’s departure allowed her to catch up on her outside-of-the-cage priorities and mentally recoup from a stressful UFC tenure.
“The holidays came up,” Cooper said. “I got engaged and we planned a wedding and got married less than a month ago. So, I’ve been training. My husband has been fighting. He’s really active. He’s had eight fights in two years, so he’s been fighting a lot. We’ve been training, but I wanted to plan a wedding. Then once the wedding got over, I decided I wanted to take a fight.”
It didn’t take long for Cooper to get snatched up by another promotion. The Michigan native recently signed a deal with Invicta FC but will take a fight under regional promotion Lights Out Championship on an out-clause. On Sept. 7, Cooper will take on Jamie Milanowski (3-3) at Lights Out Championship 5.
“They (Invicta) usually do this with their athletes,” Cooper said. “They allow them to fight – because it’s hard. They have a lot of people and they’re not having cards every month (even though) they hope to…. I had 167 training sessions before the week of my (last) fight. So, I like a lot of training… With Invicta, they kind of do a show and prepare for the next one, that’s like a four-week thing. Five at the most. I was getting a little frustrated that I wanted more time. I want to know what time I’m fighting.
“When this fight offer came in, I instantly messaged them, and they were awesome about it. Shannon Knapp is always ‘Team ABC.’ She was like, ‘Yep, I think this is perfect. We’re both on the same page.’ This is a good smart fight for me and I’m going to go in and do what I do (at Lights Out) and then get a fight for Invicta.”
As motivated as she’s been in a long time, Cooper is excited to begin the ascent back to the highest levels in the sport. The journey back kicks off Sept. 7.
“When you hear someone has gotten cut from the UFC, you just assume they suck,” Cooper said. “I don’t feel like I’m any worse than I’ve ever been. I’m the best I’ve ever been. The last fight I felt I had won that fight, but she got the decision win over me. I think (I’ll) build myself up and I am motivated. I’m training hard and I’m excited to put on a show in front of my fans, family, and friends here in Michigan.”
For more on upcoming events, go to our MMA schedule page.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Amanda Cooper relieved to depart UFC, begin proper rebuild