Ray Cooper III smashed submission specialist Pavel Kusch in 18 seconds to advance to the Professional Fighters League welterweight tournament playoffs. Next for him is a familiar opponent, one whom he had previously knocked out. Will Cooper duplicate his win over Jake Shields this weekend in the nation’s capital? As the Hawaiian heavy hitter rolls out his proven game plan, read about the numbers that gave rise to a new welterweight contender.
1: Amateur fight on his résumé. Cooper decisioned Devin Taylor in an event called Destiny MMA “Unleashed.” Less than three months later, Cooper turned pro.
8: Seconds to make a huge impact in his professional debut. He knocked out fellow Hawaiian Kani Correa. It was indeed a sign of things to come for the rising PFL star.
2: Straight wins to start his career. Cooper entered his second match with a ton of confidence after a spectacular debut. Once again, he stopped his opponenent in round 1; this time, by submission. Showing he isn't all about power, he choked out Adam Smith near the end of the first round.
16: First-round stoppages. With a dreaded all-around game, Cooper has a knack for finishing fights early as evidenced by his quick finishes.
4: Seconds to starch Matthew Colquhoun. He scored the stunning KO at an event called X-1 45: Live, which took place in his native of Hawaii.
6: Fights that ended in less than one minute. He made quick work of Colquhoun (0.04), Korrea (0.08), David Douglas (0.27), Adrian Bartree (0.34), Zach Conn (0.12), and Pavel Kusch (0.18).
1: Round in which he went the distance. In all his 20 fights, Cooper reached the last round only once, and this was in his match with Handesson Ferreira. It was his last fight before joining PFL.
5: Losses in his career. He suffered setbacks at the hands of Joey Gomez, Danny Navarro, Craig Jackson, Jun Yong Park and Ferreira.
7: Fights outside of Hawaii. Cooper has only fought outside of Hawaii seven times in his career. He has been to Atlantic City, New Jersey; Washington D.C., San Jacinto, California; Guam; and Rancho Mirgage, California, three times.
5: Fights in 2017. Cooper was most active during this year, having competed in events such as X-1 45: Live, Pacific Xtreme Combat 56, X-1 46: Armed and Dangerous, X-1 48: Braddah vs. Felony, and Mid-Pacific Championships 5.
10: Knockouts. Cooper is a feared striker with huge power in his hands. He has notable knockout wins over Shields and Charles Bennett.
1: Left hand to the jaw to drop Shields at PFL 3. Cooper followed it up with a furious ground-and-pound until referee Mario Yamasaki called the fight at 2:09 of round 2.
25: Years of age. Cooper was born on February 7, 1993 in Hawaii. He is the son of retired MMA fighter Ray Cooper.