UFC featherweight prospect Chase Hooper is out to show that he’s not just the “dorky” 22-year-old he may come across as on social media, he’s a world-class fighter.
Hooper certainly went some way to proving that this past weekend, when he returned from an 11-month layoff at UFC Vegas 55 in impressive fashion. Against Felipe Colares, “The Dream” displayed his striking improvements, and reiterated his jiu-jitsu talents on the mat.
In the third round, Hooper put an exclamation point on his return to the win column by becoming the first man to finish Colares, which he accomplished with some relentless ground-and-pound.
Early in his UFC career, a lot of attention directed at Hooper has surrounded his heavy and entertaining presence on social media. Unsurprisingly, when he fell to defeats against Alex Caceres and Steven Peterson, some suggested that the 22-year-old’s hype was unwarranted when it comes to his skills inside the cage.
With his performance this past Saturday, Hooper believes he began to prove that he’s not just a “dorky guy,” but also deserving of his place inside the Octagon, as he told Ariel Helwani during an appearance on The MMA Hour.
“It’s just been so much time off. (I’ve) just been really putting in the work to improve my game overall, and I feel like that really showed (at UFC Vegas 55). And to try to not just take the place of ‘this young, dorky guy.’ I have to be a UFC fighter, first and foremost. And I have to really not see myself as any different to any of these other guys.
“Obviously, I’ve had a much bigger platform just from the jump on the social media side of things, but it’s not just being content with that… Trying to step up and prove to myself, and to the three people that matter, Dana (White), Mick (Maynard), and Sean (Shelby), that I am a world-class fighter, and that I deserve to be in the UFC.”
Having brought Chase Hooper 2.0 to the cage at UFC Vegas 55, “The Dream” will be looking to return to a winning streak next time out, as his search for consistency inside the Octagon and an ascension up the ladder continues.
Hopefully his entertaining ways on social media will continue, even if he does zone in on mixed martial arts success int he coming years.
How high do you think Chase Hooper’s ceiling is in the UFC?