When the RFA began holding events in Colorado, they figured that the local fighters would be the most popular fighters in the promotion, but they might not have expected a transplant to become possibly their most adored star.
Heavyweight Josh “Cuddly Bear” Copeland may just be that star.
Since moving to Colorado a couple years ago, Copeland has become a fan favorite in the region. It’s something he attributes to his nature.
“I guess I’m blessed with a lot of really good friends,” said Copeland. “For some reason people like me, and I like people, and just building relationships is what I really liked to do.”
How Copeland ended up in Colorado is thanks to a former Ultimate Fighter cast member.
“I was best friends and training partners with Justin Wren from TUF 10,” said Copeland. “Trevor Wittman and Rashad Evans were impressed with him and asked him to come out here train full time. When Justin came home off the show, he said we’re moving to Colorado.”
Copeland’s popularity however does have its drawbacks. When he makes his RFA debut this Friday in Broomfield, Colo., against former BYU football star Jan Jorgensen, his hometown crowd will be on his side, but that adds its own level of pressure to the fight.
“The RFA is different because it’s going to be on national TV, but to be able to go somewhere that people don’t know you or know what to expect, you don’t have pressure,” said Copeland. “I think if there’s going to be pressure on anyone; it’s going to be the hometown guy.”
As far as how he feels he matches up with Jorgensen, Copeland told MMAWeekly.com his opponent brings physical abilities like he’s never faced and he’ll have to be as on point as he can be to win the fight.
“Just watching Jan, he’s an athlete, hands-down,” said Copeland. “He’s a much decorated Division-1 athlete, and you can’t succeed at that level without being strong, explosive and quick.
“For me, I’m just the type of person who likes to be smart. I like to go in and calculate, figure things out, use footwork and angles, be able to attack when I want to attack and defend when I have to. I just want to go out, feel it out and figure out what I need to do and hopefully it works.”
A win over Jorgensen would not only be Copeland’s biggest to date, but it could also have a profound effect on his future.
“It’d be a huge stepping stone if I can go out there and perform and do well,” said Copeland. “I wouldn’t just be a local person; I’d be able to get my name out there.
“I’ve learned in life that you never know who you’re going to meet or who or what is going to come along and change your life.”
(Photo courtesy of CMO Photo)