Chase Hooper pulled off his second career UFC victory at UFC 256. However, it wasn’t the easiest victory he’s picked up in his young career.
Kicking off the final UFC pay-per-view event of 2020, the 21-year old featherweight prospect took on Peter Barrett. After dropping the first two rounds on the judges’ scorecards, Hooper headed into the third needing a finish and that’s what he got.
Outstruck by his foe early and often, Hooper eventually found a heel hook against his fellow Contender Series alum. Despite the win, it didn’t come without some instant critique.
“Promoters [in boxing] put you against guys that you’re supposed to beat,” Joe Rogan explained on commentary during Hooper vs. Barrett. “So when you see a young kid like Chase who’s got a lot of potential—he’s really tough—you almost wonder if maybe it would be better if he wasn’t in the UFC.”
Hooper earned his way into the UFC through the aforementioned Contender Series on a developmental deal. He would go 2-0-1 after the contract clutching showing before getting his shot in the UFC.
In his debut, he scored somewhat of a short first-round comeback submission against David Teymur before going on to face the seasoned Alex Caceres which saw him suffer his first defeat. Looking back on the recent win, Hooper described the comments from Joe Rogan and company as “brutal.”
“It’s brutal to hear these people that you kind of idolize a little bit shitting all over you,” Hooper told MMA Fighting. “It’s hard to deal with. Some points were valid but I just feel like it was a little more accentuated than it needed to be. Obviously, I know I need to work on my striking, and I’m getting that situated. I’m gonna go to Thailand and get the work in that I need.
“But I think, because of this narrative that people have that, ‘Oh, his striking is so bad,’ but I was holding my own to an extent. I never felt out of there, I didn’t get rocked, I didn’t get anything significant landed on me anywhere besides my legs, so I feel like I’m making the improvements, but that was glossed over.
“I heard they were pretty brutal the whole night, overall,” he finished. “It’s just a little harder when it’s about you specifically.”
As he continues to get better and grow as a martial artist, Chase Hooper noted that he plans to continue getting in some wrestling work with Ben Askren and honing his already sharp grappling skills.This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM