Ray Cooper III joined the PFL’s millionaire’s club on New Year’s Eve and while he walked away the 2019 welterweight champion, he knows he is one of the better-known welterweights in the PFL and plans on returning for 2020. A lot has been made of Rory MacDonald’s signing with the PFL and with his intention on fighting in the division Cooper III won the title in, Cooper III would not mind if they put them in the cage first in 2020.
During the post-fight press conference, Cooper III was asked about MacDonald’s entry into the PFL in his weight class and he said, “Yeah, he’s a veteran of the sport, and he beat B.J. Penn, one of my boys and I’d like to get him back for that.” He added, “I’ll fight him first, I’ll fight him whenever but I’m ready for him.” The fight Cooper is referencing is from UFC on Fox 5 from December of 2012 when MacDonald and Penn went the distance and MacDonald won by unanimous decision.
Ray Cooper III comes from a fighting family. A lot was made of his matches against Jake Shields during the 2018 season where Cooper III was able to exact revenge on Shields who holds a win over Cooper’s father from a match in Hawaii back in 2004 at Shooto Hawaii. Cooper III was able to beat Shields twice and made it to the finals in 2018 where he lost to Magomed Magomedkerimov.
At the same press conference, PFL President Ray Sefo confirmed finalists would be returning for 2020 and of course, the champions would be invited back. Cooper III obviously already made up his mind and even said at the press conference that the title would be the first of many for him. “This is just the first step, “Cooper III said and added, and “Next year’s going to be even harder.”
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel