While he faced some adversity in the early stages of his bout against Stephen Flannigan at Showcase MMA in July, heavyweight prospect Chandler Cole was able to overcome it and pick up his third straight win.
While some may have questioned the stoppage Cole picked up over Flannigan, looking back on it he clearly sees that if the fight had not ended when it would have, his opponent could have sustained more damage than necessary to finish the fight.
“I got put in a really bad position early on and fought my way out of it,” Cole told MMAWeekly.com. “I think (Flannigan) gassed himself out trying to choke me out. As soon as the opportunity presented itself I dropped him.
“It was kind of controversial because people said the fight got stopped early, but if you go back and watch the video when I hit him he goes limp. You never know what a couple more of those punches, unprotected, could have done, so I think the ref did a real good job. I was really excited to get that win.”
For Cole the biggest change he’s made this year which has added to his game comes not from something he’s done in the gym, but something that’s happened in his personal life.
“I don’t think it’s changes in my game, but it’s changes in my lifestyle,” said Cole. “In December of last year I was blessed with a beautiful little girl. I’ve just got that feel of being a dad. It’s motivated me to work harder and to strive to do better.
“My mentality was a lot different than it was when I was a kid. I think I grew up a lot last year. I think that’s what makes me dangerous now is just the growth that I’ve put on.”
On Friday in Hampton, Virginia, Cole (5-1) will look to pick up his fifth win in a row when he faces Keith Bell (10-9-1) in a main card heavyweight bout at CFFC 80.
“Keith is a vet,” Cole said. “He’s been a pro longer than I’ve been fighting. He has like 20 pro fights, and I only have six, so I respect him, and it’s an honor to fight him. After my last fight I asked for a fight like this. Now it’s just about making weight and fighting.”
Though Cole prefers to go one step at a time, there is a bout he would like to have with a particular fighter in 2020 should be able to get it.
“It’s just fight by fight,” said Cole. “I understand that if I win this fight the doors will open. I’m not looking past this fight, but hopefully there’s new prospects.
“There’s a guy in Bellator who’s been fighting a bunch of clowns, Jake Hager. He’s been fighting all these guys who look like soccer dads. I’ve got that bod, I don’t look tough, but I know I want to fight him because I feel like my skillset and my confidence. I’d love to fight him. If anything were to happen after this fight, maybe that fight will present itself.”