Oh to be 19 years old, and getting to do in life what you have wanted to do for as long as you could remember, that would have been a dream come true for me and so many others.
However, most of us at the age of 19 weren’t mature enough to wash our own underwear, let alone have an actual idea of what we wanted to do with our lives.
Then again, none of us are mixed martial arts fighter “The Teenage Dream” Chase Hooper. A prodigy in the truest sense of the word, Hooper who began fighting professionally at 18 years old has now officially signed with the UFC.
An inevitable scenario, we all saw this coming, and we knew it before he burst onto the MMA radar when he fought on last season’s Dana White’s Contender Series and earned a win along with a “developmental contract”. While it wasn’t an actual UFC contract, the UFC knew they had to get paper on this young man before somebody else did, and the developmental deal was the right way to go about that for all parties involved.
Hooper who went undefeated as an amateur fighter wasted very little time once he turned 18 on making his professional debut. Hooper turned 18 on September 2017, just 3 weeks later in October he made his successful professional debut. Picking up right where he left off as an amateur, and as of this writing, he is still an undefeated professional fighter with a professional record of 8-0-1. 4 wins by submission, 2 via KO/TKO, and 2 via the judge’s scorecards. In other words, he can win a fight in a multitude of ways, and again he’s still just 19 years old.
Hooper announced via social media that he will be making his official UFC debut December 14th in Las Vegas Nevada at UFC 245, however, he did not divulge the name of his opponent as the UFC wants to drop that news first. This “boy next door” of course happily is honoring the UFC’s request to not reveal his first octagon foe.
Most 19-year-olds, especially boys, are worried about their car, music, partying and girls. At 19 very few people are ready to be the center of attention at work. When that work is “professional fighter” for the premiere MMA promotion on the planet, it seems even less fathomable that a teenager could handle living in that kind of pressure cooker, but as I started earlier, Chase Hooper is no ordinary teenager.
Long and rangy and with unlimited learning potential, Hooper is expected to become a staple inside the octagon once he debuts.
UFC President Dana White will have some tough decisions ahead when it comes to booking this phenom in the octagon. Very specific matchmaking will be is necessary to protect the shelf-life of Hooper.
Chase Hooper is also not your typical 19 year old in another way, he’s not looking to go out and party and have after-parties after fights or get wasted he actually wants his fights to end early so he can go back to the hotel, eat some food and be in bed by midnight, something that I learned firsthand when he fought for us at Island Fights 54 earlier this year.
I reached out to Hooper upon hearing that he had been added to the roster and asked him a couple of quick questions.
CJ – ” Tell me how it felt when you finally got the call about making your official UFC debut”?
Hooper – ” It all kind of goes back to my last fight. The UFC picked the fight because he was a tough high-level guy with a lot of experience against current UFC guys. Immediately after we got back to our room, we got a call from the UFC with a name and a date. So essentially the past two months have been me trying to wait until everything was locked in and we were given the “okay” to announce it. It felt incredible to get to fulfill one of my biggest goals in life, and I felt like I was ready to show that I can hang in the UFC.”
CJ – ” You are officially going to be the youngest fighter on the roster, how does that feel for you”?
Hooper – “Being the youngest on the roster means that a lot of people are probably going to overlook me and assume that I’m an easy fight; like what most everyone has been doing my entire career. It feels super cool to be able to stand out from the crowd by being the youngest, and I feel like it will benefit me once people get to see that I can fight pretty well too”.
Chase Hooper a young man who can’t legally have a drink or rent a car, yet here he is with a grown-up job that other adults have and some are far older and less suited for the job, Hooper does not have that problem.
They say experience is everything, and ignorance is bliss. While this man does not have as much life experience as anybody else he will be facing, make no mistake that while he may be ignorant to some of the inner workings of the UFC and that may be blissful in a sense, don’t mistake his lack of life experience or work experience within the organization as a weak link in this young man’s armor, if you do you may just end up like the 13 other men both amateur and pro who thought that same way and find yourself on Hooper’s highlight reel.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.