Amanda ‘ABC’ Cooper (3-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) takes on another hyped prospect as she battles multiple time BJJ gold medalist, undefeated Mackenzie Dern at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Cooper has been training in combat sports since pre-teen years. However between her loss against surging Cynthia Calvillo and her win over Angela Magana, she revealed something that changed everything.
“It’s tough to have losses in your career,” said Cooper. “The more wins you have, the more confidence people have, but I also feel like if they start to lose, they’re not sure of themselves. I’ve done my losses, I’ve had heartbreak, and I don’t want it anymore. And somewhere between last year in May and December, I started doing better, I started focusing more, I started amping up my training with my coaches, and it hit me – man, this is what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life. I want to be number one. And if I never reach the top goal, everything I did, every training session, every win, every loss, every heartbreak was all for nothing.”
It’s a lot of pressure to have but, at the same time, it’s also liberating to just say: “Losing, I’m done with it.” And if I never reach the top goal, everything I did, every training session, every win, every loss, every heartbreak was all for nothing.
“It’s awesome, but it’s something I’ve struggled with,” she said. “When I got in The Ultimate Fighter, I was 1-1 and I had doubts. I said, ‘I’m a 50-50 fighter.’ I’ve lost to talented fighters, but that doesn’t make a loss feel better. Those losses suck. I’ve been backstage at a UFC crying, thinking that I was gonna be done fighting. Then you wake up one day and realize, ‘I’m not done fighting. I’m gonna be a world champion and I’m never gonna let this happen again.’ It’s a good feeling and I truly believe it. I don’t believe that I’m gonna get beat. I believe I’m done with it. I had my share of losses, had my share of heartbreak and my mind is so strong right now, I don’t think I can lose.”
Cooper, 26, last fought at UFC 218 against a veteran Angela Magana. Cooper put up a complete effort and finished Magana in two rounds at her home of Detroit.
“I’ve been trying to think of the same thing, honestly,” she laughs. “I’ve had great fights before, I’ve had great wins and great experiences and they all seem to get better the higher I go. But this was in my hometown in front of my home crowd, I had all my friends and all my family there, and it was an emotional win. I worked very hard for it, I was coming off a loss, and I beat someone in a dominant fashion in front of all the people I know.
“But I think it can be topped,” Cooper continues. “I was really confident in that fight, I didn’t think Angela deserved to be in the cage with me. I thought I was a lot better. And now with my next opponent I think I can top it.”
Her opponent Mackenzie Dern is a hot prospect and a heavy favourite heading into the fight, Cooper however likes it this way.
“She’s undefeated, she’s a rising star and I’m ready to take that away,” she said of Dern. “That could be the biggest night of my life, the most emotional and most excited I’ve ever been for a fight. So I do believe it’s going to get more exciting and emotionally better for me as the fights go on.”