We know how that went, though. Cooper III battered the former Strikeforce champ en route to a second-route TKO, before scoring an even quicker win over Pavel Kusch, at PFL 6. With 11 points in the regular season, Cooper III was the top 170-pound seed moving on to the playoffs.
For some, Cooper III was one of the big surprises of PFL’s inaugural season. The welterweight certainly did not surprise himself, though.
“I believed in my skills, I knew what I could do,” Cooper III told MMAjunkie Radio. “I knew I was going to dominate everybody in this division.”
We’re not sure about “everybody in the division” just yet, but that’s certainly what he did to Shields (33-10) during their first meeting. And as Cooper III (15-4) prepares for the rematch, this time in the quarterfinals at Saturday’s PFL 10, he’s confident he can not only repeat his previous result, but one-up himself.
“I’m looking to put him away early and retire him,” Cooper III said. “I think he’s done already. First I’m going there to put him away in the first round, this time.
“… I kind of knew I was going to dominate him from the beginning. He’s not that fast anymore, as he was in his younger days. Which is not that fast, anyway. Nothing really surprised me and nothing’s going to surprise me on Saturday.”
PFL 10 takes place at St. Elizabeths East Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. The main card airs on NBCSN following prelims on Facebook Watch.
Although the words are bold, Cooper III said Shields shouldn’t take it too personally. Cooper III said he’s approaching this as any other fight – and it just so happens that, in every fight, the idea is to make sure things don’t evolve past the first round. “It’s just how I fight,” Cooper III said of his aggressiveness, which had been there growing up as wrestler, too.
The 25-year-old has been mostly successful in his finish-driven approach: Among all his wins in professional MMA, there isn’t a single decision. Shields, it turns out, was only the second of his victims to reach the second round.
But there is one decision in Cooper III’s record: a loss, to Handesson Ferreira. And, as luck would have it, Ferreira has also moved on to PFL’s playoffs. The Brazilian also competes on Saturday, against Rick Story, which means Cooper III might get himself yet another rematch.
Cooper III doesn’t seem too worried about that possibility, though.
“I kind of was not really training for that fight,” Cooper III said of his loss to Ferreira.
The blame for that, Cooper says, is all his. But now the welterweight, who trains out of his garage with his ex-fighter father and three wrestler brothers, said he’s got the right “training system” going now, and that he’s corrected the issues that allowed Ferreira to beat him in their first fight.
Regardless of whom Cooper III meets, he said he intends to keep on his path of destruction until the end of the playoffs and become the winner of PFL’s welterweight tournament. That would be one big statement.
Big enough that other promotions might want to take a closer look at the American. It appears, though, that as Cooper III inches closed to the $1 million PFL prize money, he’s quite happy staying right where he’s at.
“I’m looking forward to staying with PFL,” Cooper III said. “This tournament style, I don’t think any other organization can do this. Or any other fighters, guys get hurt, they cannot last through the season, they’ve got to take too long breaks.
“We fight every six weeks, so, the UFC can’t handle this. Neither can Bellator. I believe that we can go to Hawaii next year, if not next year, probably the year after that, after I win this tournament.”
MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: PFL 10's Ray Cooper III wants to 'retire' Jake Shields in playoff rematch