Chase Hooper explains why he moved up to lightweight, plans to drag Nick Fiore into “deep waters”

By Cole Shelton - May 16, 2023

Chase Hooper is finally making the move up to lightweight.

Chase Hooper

When Hooper entered the UFC he fought at featherweight, but as he started to get older and add size, the weight cut began getting harder and harder. Hooper had to stop eating food a week or two before the fight and instead only had protein shakes, which he says no doubt impacted his performance.

“It’s not even the fight so much, I mean a little bit. I can definitely feel that my performance is impacted, but so much is about the weight cut,” Hooper said on Just Scrap Radio on “Walking around at 185, it’s not easy to get down that 40 pounds to make 145. The last week or two before I headed to Vegas were protein shakes and packets of honey. That is the only thing I was putting in my body. That was pretty brutal on my body and it’s not like I was gaining a huge advantage killing myself and I was probably making it worse for myself.”

Once Hooper told the UFC of his plan to move up to lightweight, he wasn’t sure who he would face.

Hooper is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Steve Garcia at 145lbs, so he knows he didn’t have much of a say in who he was going to fight first at 155lbs. Yet, when he was offered Nick Fiore at UFC Vegas 73, he was excited about the matchup as he knows Fiore is primarily a grappler.

“I mean, obviously everyone deserves to be here and are tough. But, seeing some of his regional fights, I see he tends more toward grappling,” Hooper said. “I don’t think he was pushed on the regional scene and you saw that in his debut, but against a guy who is the exact opposite of my style, a shorter, jacked guy that’s going forward throwing heat. I think we can have a lot of fun grappling exchanges, I’m trying to push the pace and show everything off and prove that the skillset is there. Help prove my case at 155 and show that I have that momentum going forward.”

Although Nick Fiore is mostly a grappler, Chase Hooper is uncertain if the New England Cartel native will try and grapple him.

But, even if he doesn’t, Hooper the +108 underdog on FanDuel, is confident he has all the tools to win this fight. He plans to push the pace and drag Fiore into deep waters and get a late stoppage win.

“I’m doing a lot of the stuff this camp for a reason. I’m very cardio-focused, I feel like that seemed suspect, I want to push the pace. I’m not a knockout puncher, if a guy falls into it then maybe I can clip someone,” Hooper said. “I’m not super strong, I’m not super explosive but I’m a grinder and got a good pace and I want to keep that for 15 minutes. Just drag him into deep waters and try to wear him out and be the more veteran guy in this fight. I have the skill set to win this fight and make it look good.”

If Hooper does get the stoppage win at UFC Vegas 73 that he is after, he isn’t sure what it does for him. Instead, he says this fight is about proving he belongs in the UFC and hopefully, he can start fighting more grapplers.

“I’m not trying to be one of these guys saying I want to do this by a certain age. The UFC is more of a marathon than a sprint. It’s trying to plan long-term, build these skill sets, and build yourself up. But, I’d love to fight more of the grapplers at 155, there are some fun jiu-jitsu guys out there, and there are some fun submission artists. I’d like a couple of those fights but I have to get through this one first and prove I deserve to be here,” Hooper said.

Do you think Chase Hooper will finish Nick Fiore at UFC Vegas 73?


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