Pasar al contenido principal
Chase Hooper reacts after his submission victory against Jordan Leavitt in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Chase Hooper’s Age Is Just A Number

UFC Lightweight Chase Hooper Has Grown Into A Fighter Who’s Ready To Do Some Damage At UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Nascimento

Chase Hooper’s literal growing pains have taken place in the UFC, but it’s time to stop looking at “The Dream” as the same 18-year-old that shined on Dana White’s Contender Series almost six years ago.

On Saturday, Hooper will make his ninth walk to the Octagon, facing Viacheslav Borshchev in the UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Nascimento prelim headliner. Hooper competed at featherweight for the first six fights of his UFC career, alternating wins and losses for a 3-3 journey at 145 pounds. But, over time, Hooper grew into the frame of a lightweight and the move paid immediate dividends as Hooper ripped off back-to-back wins.

Please enable Javascript to view this content

He feels the work he’s put into developing his game and the success he’s had in the UFC have begun to change the narrative people have assigned to him since that night on DWCS.

“Now I’m older, I’m not the young guy anymore, but I’m starting to be taken a little more seriously,” Hooper told UFC.com. “Now I’m putting these legitimate wins in, getting good performances, showing that I’m improving, and showing that I’m not just the young guy in the UFC.”

“I’m a legitimate fighter now. I’m another guy on the roster and somebody with potential in terms of moving up.”

Full St. Louis Fight Card Preview

Hooper can’t blame people for viewing him as “the young guy” throughout his UFC tenure – he felt the same way about himself. He struggled with some thoughts of imposter syndrome and wondered if he truly belonged fighting with the best in the world. But by sticking it out through the rough patches as he added to his skill set, he feels like he’s grown into a true UFC fighter.

And he’s ready to put that excuse and thought to bed for good.

Chase Hooper reacts after his submission victory against Jordan Leavitt in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Chase Hooper reacts after his submission victory against Jordan Leavitt in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

“Mentally, I understand that I’m one of these guys. I stand amongst these people,” Hooper said. “I’m one of these guys and I’ve more than proven it. This will be my ninth fight and I’m still here. I’m putting on good performances and getting finishes against legitimate guys.”

Entering UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Nascimento, he’s on a two-fight win streak, the first of his UFC career, and he’s excited about the matchup with Borshchev. It’s the type of fight that jumps off the paper as one with two very different fighters and should make for a fight that fans will love to see.

Order UFC 302: Makhachev vs Poirier

“It’s a very black and white matchup. He’s a striker and I’m a grappler. These are the matchups that UFC was built on, the specialist type of matchups,” Hooper said when breaking down the fight with Borshchev. “Two people that are great at their respective martial arts and then it’s like, ‘OK, we are going to throw them together and see what happens.’

“He’s going to try to beat me up on the feet and I’m going to try to drag him to the ground.”

Chase Hooper TKOs Felipe Colares | UFC Fight Night: Holm vs Vieira
fight pass logo
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Chase Hooper TKOs Felipe Colares | UFC Fight Night: Holm vs Vieira
/

Hooper believes UFC matchmakers put this specific fight together because they are giving both him and Borshchev a test. Have they fixed holes in their game? Can they thrive in the shark tank that is the lightweight division? This is a fight for them to show that they aren’t one dimensional and that they can hang with the upper tiers of the division.

“I think the matchmakers are testing both of us, honestly. They know he’s had trouble with grapplers in the past and I’ve had trouble with some strikers in the past. It’s really figuring out which one of us is ready to go up to the next tier,” Hooper said. “Just because it’s such a big division, there are definitely tiers, and we are both trying to move up. Only half the people on the card are going to win their fight, though, and some of them are going to move up and others are going to stay where they are at.”

Order UFC 302: Makhachev vs Poirier

Hooper is confident that he’ll be able to implement his gameplan and win against Borshchev, and while he’s not exactly sure how things will play out, he has some ideas. For Hooper, that’s the fun part. He’s looking forward to figuring out how to break Borshchev down and drag him into the deep waters to push his win streak to three.

“A win over him would move me up to that next level against maybe a more well-rounded guy or a vet,” Hooper said. “I think I’m starting to hit my stride and people are starting to see that.”

UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Nascimento took place live from Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri on May 11, 2024. See the final Prelim and Main Card results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass