by Mick Hammond
Dewey “Black Kobra” Cooper is one of the most charismatic and personable fighters on the K-1 circuit. Over the last couple of years his quick reflexes and always moving fighting style have made him one of the most formidable fighters in kickboxing. Currently rehabilitating from a torn ACL suffered on K-1’s Battle at the Bellagio 4 show earlier this year, Cooper took time out his busy schedule to breakdown the upcoming K-1 World GP Hawaii 8-man tournament and superfight with MMA Weekly’s Mick Hammond.
MMA Weekly: Before we get into the match-ups Dewey, can you tell us how your rehab is going from your torn ACL?
Dewey Cooper: My surgery went well and I’m walking around and doing everything fine. Monday I did my first training in nine weeks, it was straight boxing, no kicking, because I have another two weeks to go before I can kick. Unfortunately I won’t be able to fight on the August 13th Mirage show, not because I don’t want to fight, but because my therapist and the NSAC won’t release me to fight by then.
MMA Weekly: So when do you expect to return to actual live fighting?
Dewey Cooper: Well I’m going to keep training and hopefully I can return in September. I’m planning on having a pro boxing match, a 10-rounder, and if all goes well hopefully I can get a title shot by the end of the year. For K-1 I wish it were on August 13th because you only have a certain number of times you can qualify for the World GP Finals and if you miss those qualifiers you’re screwed for the year. I feel I’m willing to fight anytime, all I need is three weeks notice to get into shape and I’ll show up and fight anyone.
MMA Weekly: What about Premium Dynamite 2005?
Dewey Cooper: Dynamite would be perfect, realistically I can fight the 13th but it’s dangerous, by September/October I will be in tip top form, and I’ll be willing to be in there against the best, I’ll take a superfight against anyone. I hate missing shows and opportunities, but not going to let anything slow me down.
MMA Weekly: All right, let’s get your thoughts on the upcoming 8-man tournament for the Hawaii GP. First off Japan’s hard hitting Yusuke Fujimoto VS one of BJ Penn’s fighters, Scott Junk. What do you think about this fight?
Dewey Cooper: Well with Fujimoto you never know which one will show up. Sometimes he’s aggressive, sometimes he’s afraid. He can either look really good or really bad. I know Scott is an MMA guy who likes to throw big punches, so this one could come down to who lands first. Fujimoto is strictly a stand-up guy but he’s got a glass jaw. His body and low kicks could give Scott trouble, but I realistically think they’ll both come in swinging with big shots. This is what I call a real crash and burn fight. They’re both open to KO’s but I give the edge to Fujimoto in this one.
MMA Weekly: Next up in this half of the bracket is 4-round boxing king Butterbean VS Marcus “XL” Royster of Team Voo Doo. Tell us how you think this super-heavyweight match-up could turn out.
Dewey Cooper: Butterbean will knock out Marcus for sure. One thing about Butterbean, he does have good timing on his punches and he punches hard. Big guys like this don’t have the gas, but they fight at a slow pace and throw big bombs, so I don’t think conditioning will be a factor. I see this one ending in a KO early in the fight. The only thing I think Marcus could do is throw leg kicks to hurt Butterbean but that’s it. Butterbean has been fighting 4-round fights his entire career so if it goes the distance, which I’m saying it won’t, but just in case it does, 3 rounds shouldn’t be problem for him. If anyone will get tired it’ll be Marcus, but it’s not going that far, trust me.
MMA Weekly: Okay in the second half of the brackets you have a fight featuring two real K-1 veterans in USA’s Carter Williams and the seemingly ageless Hiromi Amada. Break it down for us.
Dewey Cooper: That’s going to be hell of a fight, out of the fights we’ve talked about so far this is the best one. Carter can punch like hell and has a lot of natural talent. He has the punches, but he’s got a suspect chin. Amada is a real gangster, hard puncher and he doesn’t quit, this guy will keep coming after you. In the end I think Carter will win by KO but you never know. Amada fought Ray Sefo and Sefo couldn’t take him out. Amada is bold and cocky but Carter is the bigger, stronger man. Amada is old, and if Carter can’t beat him he should take time off and assess where he is at in K-1 and make a decision about his future in the sport.
MMA Weekly: Lastly there’s the two MMA veterans going at it, “Big Daddy” himself, Gary Goodridge, Hawaiian fan favorite and infamous ironhead, Wesley “Cabbage” Correia. Who you got in this one?
Dewey Cooper: That’s going to be the fight of the night. Cabbage shows a tremendous chin and you know being in Hawaii he’s coming to fight. Gary comes in and throws hard ass punches but he relies on brute force too much, he has no movement. I honestly think Cabbage can take his shots, I mean he took some heavy shots from Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia in MMA. I fought Gary and I took his punches with no problem so I expect Cabbage can get in and do some damage. Gary doesn’t have any defense and he throws wild punches, so if Cabbage gets in you know he can crack Gary. This is going to be a street fight right from the start, there’s not going to be any backing up, it’s going to be toe to toe all the way. I hate to go with the debuting MMA guy, but I have to say Cabbage is going to pull it out via KO. Both hit hard so it’s going to come down to chin and I think Cabbage has a better chin than Gary does.
MMA Weekly: So out of the eight scheduled fighters for the GP, who do you think will end up victorious and earn the Hawaii GP title and World GP Finals invite?
Dewey Cooper: Carter Williams for sure, but will he do it? For Carter the roughest challenge is going to be Amada who has tremendous K-1 experience and outside of Carter is the best K-1 fighter in the tournament. He’s in the second half of the bracket, fighting the winner of Cabbage and Gary and I think he can beat either of those two guys because neither of them has good defense. Carter will win the whole tournament because he offers the most skills and athletic ability. Let me say this, Carter if you’re listening, you should win this whole damn thing and if you don’t, then I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you man.
MMA Weekly: The last match we are going to break down is literally the biggest bout on the evening’s card. Former Sumo Grand Champion Akebono VS K-1 World GP Korea Champion Hong-Man Choi. Which one of these two behemoths is going to shake the pillars of the Aloha Stadium when he goes down for the count?
Dewey Cooper: If Choi can’t beat Akebono then it shows what kind of a joke the Korea GP is. I know Akebono is a legend in Sumo but in stand-up, forget it. Choi is like 7 feet tall and went through his three GP fights with no problems. I think he can beat Akebono with just three punches. He should be able to stop Akebono no problem. On paper this looks intriguing with the two giants, but it’ll be an easy night for Choi.
MMA Weekly: Do you see Akebono making it out of the first round of the fight?
Dewey Cooper: Realistically Akebono shouldn’t make it out of the first round, but he is a star Sumo wrestler, he was a champion and to be a champion you have to have heart and be courageous and not be a punk. I’ll give him that, but that’s only because anyone that’s ever solidified themselves in any discipline should get through the first round just by shear courage or will. Saying that I could see him getting through the first round just because he’s a champion, but not the second or third.
MMA Weekly: So you wouldn’t have a problem whatsoever getting into the ring with one of these big guys at all?
Dewey Cooper: Not at all. All you have to do is just move your head and move in and out and circle around and turn them. I would love to fight Choi, Akebono, or even Bob Sapp. My defense is so good I could move in and land shots and move out before they could land anything clean. You make them hesitant when they miss and just hit air and then they get touched, all you have to do is hit them once and that will mess them up. Not to be disrespectful but when I watch tape on them if they land something it’s only because someone stands there and lets them land something, they couldn’t hit a moving target if they tried.
MMA Weekly: I’m guessing that endurance would be on your side too in a fight like that.
Dewey Cooper: Absolutely, you don’t have to KO the guy to win the fight, Rick Roufus showed that against Akebono. Akebono couldn’t catch him the whole fight. All of them are slow and not in shape, and that includes Bob Sapp. They’re not in shape and after round one they are sucking gas. If they don’t KO you in the first round I don’t see a way they could win against a real fighter. Real fighters are guys like Remy (Bojansky), Musashi, Ray Sefo, those are the ones that give you real trouble. These big novelty guys are easy.
MMA Weekly: Thanks a lot for your time Dewey, it’s always great to get a fighter’s perspective on upcoming fights. As we head out is there anything you’d like to say?
Dewey Cooper: I want to mention God works in mysterious ways, I had my torn ACL and just sat at him home for nine weeks doing nothing but thinking of fighting. In that time I got inspired and started my own record label called Trauma Records. Canibus whose done songs for me has signed with me and I’m working on my first rap album coming out in August. Check out Cloak & Dagger coming out on Head Trauma Records real soon. If I hadn’t gotten injured I wouldn’t have had time to form a corporation and get into hip-hop music. I’ve got big things coming outside the world of pugilism. Mark my words this grove is going to take the world by storm. Thanks to the supporters and those who don’t support me. The fans have always been good to me and I always love them. Of course check out my website www.BlackKobra.com and big ups to everyone in Hawaii, Milwaukee, Chi-town, and a big shout out to my boy Phil Baroni who’s in Pride representing. I know a lot of people were saying he was out, but you should never underestimate the will of a warrior.