UFC featherweight prospect Chase Hooper wants a slow and steady rise up the rankings, similar to that of bantamweight Sean O’Malley.
Hooper got back in the win column on the UFC Vegas 55 prelims, earning a late TKO finish of Felipe Colares. He returned to the Octagon following a nearly one-year hiatus and losses in two of his previous three fights.
Hooper has fought a slew of fellow prospects during his young UFC career, and he intends to stay on this current path for a while. O’Malley has recently been praised for his methodical approach to his strength of schedule when it comes to his opponents and activity.
During his UFC Vegas 55 post-fight press conference, Hooper explained why he isn’t in a rush to be thrown into fights with bigger names in the featherweight division.
“I’ve never been one to call people out,” Hooper said. “The O’Malley approach is always a great one. Fight the lowest-ranked guy for the most amount of money on the highest spot on the card. I’m just gonna go back, look at the things I did well this fight, look at the things I need to improve on.
“The past 11 months I haven’t just been training for this fight, I’ve been training for the rest of my career. I’ve been training to be good enough for the next 3, 4, 5 fights. So it’s just about continuing to make those improvements and waiting for that call from the UFC.
“Hopefully I impressed the only three people that matter in this sport right now. Dana White, Sean Shelby, Mick Maynard. Those are the guys who keep my bills paid and allow me to live this lifestyle that I do. So, hopefully, they’re impressed.”
Hooper, at 22 years old, is one of the youngest fighters in the UFC. He made his UFC debut against Daniel Teymur at UFC 245 after a win on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018.
Hooper has plenty of time to develop and eventually face top names in the featherweight division.
As for O’Malley, he’ll face arguably the toughest challenge of his UFC career at UFC 276 against ranked contender Pedro Munhoz.
Do you agree with Chase Hooper’s approach?