Chase Hooper is officially in the UFC and will make his debut at UFC 245.
Hooper received a developmental contract at DWCS 14 in July 2018. Since, he’s fought three times and according the new UFC bantamweight, he was in communication with Sean Shelby since leaving the show.
“It’s great, I’ve known for a while about the fight,” said Hooper. “They just wanted me to wait until everything was finalized.”
After another impressive first-round finish at Titan FC 55, Hooper was offered his UFC contract with his debut date set in stone.
A Contender Series Standout
Before fighting on Contender Series, Chase was fighting every other month to pay the bills. With 5 fights in 2018, he was able to make an impressive MMA run faster than most.
Signing the development deal was a game changer for the young Hooper, who says he “had the standard UFC contract,” so he was making “what a standard UFC fighter would make in their first couple of fights.”
Chase admits that singing the deal was better than going right into the UFC. He was able to get better and mature physically before taking on the best of the best.
No Longer “The Teenage Dream”?
“I think Teenage Dream gets a lot creepier when you get into your 20s.”
It’s evident that Chase did not live an average life growing up, training at the age of 8 years old.
But if you ask him, he’ll be the first to tell you that the sacrifice has been worth it. “A lot of that kid stuff went out the window,” said Hooper. Having such a disciplined mentality early on, he was unable to hang with friends as training took priority.
It all started with his Dad bringing him to train with his current coach when he was 8. At 15 or 16, he started competing in high-level Jiu Jitsu, participating in the California Pan Ams.
Building confidence, skill, and muscle memory, Hooper thought he was decent at Jiu Jitsu and decided to see what he could do with MMA. Even though he didn’t live the normal life growing up due to training, nerves still play a factor during every fight.
There’s Always Pressure
Pressure builds diamonds, and by now, you’d think Chase would be used to it. Sometimes, that’s not always the case.
“I feel I always put a lot of pressure on myself, that never really changes.”
The featherweight prospect admits that for every fight “the same amount of pressure is going to be on it.” Even though the hype can bring some added nerves, “being young is a benefit” for Hooper because guys tend to overlook him. They forget his skill-level is insane and he carries a dangerous ground game.
It’s all about technique.
Chase tries to do everything as technical as he can because he’s a “little lazy” and doesn’t “want to work too hard.”
Scouting His New Division
Currently walking around at 170 pounds, Hooper is confident featherweight is his home for a while. Although his opponent has yet to be announced, he will be making his debut at 145 pounds in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 14th.
Getting ready to research the division as a whole, Chase knows that, “the talent pull is super deep at 145.” There may be many intriguing fights, but he wants to take it nice and slow. So jumping into the Top-10 is not in Hooper’s immediate plans.
“I think something like that would be more difficult at 145 [beat Jon Jones’ record].”
If you think he’s going to come into the UFC try to be the youngest UFC champion, think again. Chase is much smarter than that. He wants to start from the bottom and work his way up.
Even though his rise was rather quick, taking the slower, more strategic route now has always been the plan for the calculated technician. Chase may have never been the biggest, strongest, or fastest, but the Washington state prospect always sets the pace. A cardio-machine while keeping up with technique, Hooper is truly destined for great things.
“The Teenage Dream” may be no longer, but “The Dream” definitely lives on.
Listen to our full interview with Chase Hooper on The Scrap’s official SoundCloud:
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Joel Torres is a co-owner of The Scrap and its current CEO. Torres is obsessed with MMA and holds a Masters of Science in Integrated Design, Business and Technology from University of Southern California. Make sure to follow Joel on Twitter (@joelisacoolkid).