by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to grow, more and more athletes from other combat sports continue to enter the fray to prove themselves as complete fighters. Among them is Dewey “Black Kobra” Cooper, a charismatic southpaw K-1 fighter known for his slick fighting style and never-say-die attitude.
Having crossed over from kickboxing, to professional boxing (where he holds an impressive 15-0-2 record), and now to MMA, Dewey is looking to prove himself and buck the current trend of kickboxers having difficulty making the transition.
Cooper’s latest predication towards MMA glory was a unanimous decision victory in a rematch with Adam Smith at Strikeforce’s Playboy Mansion debut this past Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif.
In yet another fight that tested his resiliency, Dewey used his cool, calm demeanor to get out of trouble and out-skill Smith, raising his MMA record to 2-0 in the process.
Shortly after arriving back home in Las Vegas, Cooper spoke with MMAWeekly about this past weekend’s fight, his busy upcoming fight schedule and the lofty goals he has set for 2008.
MMAWeekly: First off Dewey, tell us your feelings about your fight last Saturday night.
Dewey Cooper: I feel good; it was a good win. Any time you get a win, especially a unanimous decision win, hey, you’ve got to be satisfied with that. Of course, you always want dreams of grandeur, winning by KO, but I’ll take a victory. A victory’s a victory to me.
MMAWeekly: This fight was a rematch of a Palace Fighting Championship bout that took place two months ago, which you also won by unanimous decision. Were you expecting this fight to go differently than the first?
Dewey Cooper: Yeah, absolutely. In the first fight, I hurt him really bad with a left hand – he was out – but he crawled out of the ring. That’s the only thing that kept him in that fight. So in the rematch, he knew I had a little more pop than what people expect in my left hand and he realized how dynamic of a kicker I was. So his whole game plan was to make sure he tried to force it to the ground.
In the first fight, he really didn’t respect my striking ability and he wanted to stand with me. That’s why he had no plans on standing (with me in the second fight). So, that made it a little more difficult for me. I knew it would be a much harder fight the second time around.
MMAWeekly: Are you happy with the work you put in during the fight?
Dewey Cooper: Yeah, I feel like I’m very happy with the work I put in. Because everybody knows I’m a good striker. I showed good speed, some non-telegraphing short punches and a lot of good kicking techniques. Yeah, I did get taken to the ground. I got mounted and got punches thrown at me while I was mounted, on the bottom, and I didn’t fold, didn’t freak out – I stayed calm and worked some things I’ve been learning in the gym.
So I’m definitely satisfied that I got put in predicaments that I didn’t want to get put in and I didn’t fold. I didn’t get tapped out or pounded out. So the work I got in this fight was priceless for me. I gave me more confidence in case I get taken down in future fights.
MMAWeekly: Speaking of which, I understand you already have your next fight scheduled?
Dewey Cooper: Luckily I had a hard fight Saturday night and didn’t have any injuries. My neck’s a little tender, but my shins are perfect, everything’s good, so I’m fighting again on Oct. 18 back in Lemoore, Calif. at the Tachi Palace and Casino, for the Palace Fighting Championship. It will be my third MMA fight coming up.
MMAWeekly: You’re scheduled to face Jimmy Dexter at that show. Do you know anything about him or begun to game plan for that fight already?
Dewey Cooper: I don’t know anything about the guy. So I might as well don’t know who I’m fighting, but I’m sure I’ll have a full scouting report in a couple of days. My game plan is going to be simple; I’m going to do my best to stand-up and try my best to get better at stopping takedowns and get more adequate if I do get taken down. I’m going to strike it out though, that’s my goal. Everyone knows what I’m going to do – kick, punch and knee the guy if I catch him coming in – it’s pretty obvious what I’m going to do.
MMAWeekly: Hopefully he won’t try to escape out of the ring like in your last PFC fight, right?
Dewey Cooper: Absolutely, if he does, I’m jumping in and I’m actually going to submit someone with a choke. (Laughs) I’m going for the chokehold if he tries to crawl away. (Laughs)
MMAWeekly: Going beyond this month, what kind of goals do you have set for yourself the rest of this year, heading into 2008?
Dewey Cooper: Next year, I’ve got Olympian goals. I definitely want to fight for a cruiserweight championship in boxing; I’m about two fights away from that. And I want to proceed in my MMA evolution, hopefully get on some big, high-profile shows in ’08 and keep it moving. I have a kickboxing fight scheduled for Nov. 10, which will be my 33rd birthday, and them I’m boxing in December.
So, ’08 is going to be an interesting year me because I’m at the point where I just want to fight, and hopefully I’ll get a lot of opportunities to do all three: MMA, boxing and kickboxing. I’m going to train all year, be in shape for every endeavor, keep it moving and keep it positive.
I have a great team around me. I finally have a good core team together, I have great guys helping me out, so I’ll make sure I get better at all aspects of fighting – kickboxing, boxing and my ground.
MMAWeekly: Thanks for your time Dewey. Is there anything you want to say in conclusion?
Dewey Cooper: I want to thank you guys at MMAWeekly, there’re a million other guys out there you could be interviewing, so thanks for the love. The guy who did the play-by-play for MMAWeekly, yo, thanks for calling it real. I’ve had a lot of fights in K-1, a history where a lot of people didn’t really call it the real way everyone else seen it. So I really appreciate you guys being real with that.
I’d like to thank PureForm Labs, Team Barry, Team One Kick, Team Black Kobra, Chinchek Fighting Gear, and for all the people I’m forgetting, sorry! (Laughs) And, to the fans, thanks to all you guys, because a long time ago after that Carter Williams decision in 2003 (K-1’s Battle at the Bellagio), where I beat the guy, out-skilled the guy, and the judges still robbed me; I was ready to quit this whole sport and the fans showed me so much love and it actually gave me incentive to keep going.
I’ve learned it’s not what the judges say; it’s what the people think, that’s the biggest thing. They’ve shown me so much support coming into MMA and given me an open mind and the opportunity to advance in MMA. I’m going to keep training and keep trying to impress people.