Prior to millions of people celebrating the new year at Time Square in New York City, Pearl City’s Ray Cooper III is looking to capture a million dollars at Madison Square Garden.
The 26 year-old will face David Michaud (18-5) on Tuesday in the PFL Welterweight Championship Tournament final with the winner earning a seven figure grand prize.
“It’s a real big opportunity, and I’m so blessed to be in this position and I’m definitely fighting for more than myself, it’s for my family,” Cooper told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
Cooper (19-7), will be making his second straight appearance in the 170-pound championship, having lost to Magomed Magomedkuramov in the championship last year.
According to Cooper, the son of former MMA fighter Ray Cooper II and nephew of Ronald Jhun said that the title and earnings are important to him, but what he’s aiming to accomplish means much more.
“This is what I love to do. I don’t just go out there because you like be one fighter. I love this. I’ve lived this since I was a little kid. Plenty of these guys, they think that they can just got out there and be an MMA fighter but this is my life. This is literally my life,” added Cooper. “I grew up watching my uncle them, my dad them, fighting and to fight in the highest level at the most iconic arena is one big, big deal to me, and it just cements the legacy that we have in Hawaii, that my family has in Hawaii from starting from the ground up from SuperBrawl days and for me to just cement that is going to mean a lot to me and just being the best that I can be, and being at the top.”
Cooper enters the fight with 19 victories in his career with 13 coming by way of knockout.
The PFL Championships, which will feature six fights in total, are set to start on Tuesday at 1:00pm HST on ESPPN2.