Cooper (CJ) is a member of The Cellar Gym’s Muay Thai fight team and is no stranger to competition! CJ competed in wrestling throughout his childhood and in college. He then transitioned to training MMA and Muay Thai as an adult. He is currently preparing to compete at the upcoming 2018 TBA Class Muay Thai Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. This will be his first Muay Thai tournament and he is looking forward to putting his hard work to the test!

1. What is your weight class and current record?

I fight at 185lbs and have a record of 1-0 in Muay Thai and 0-1 in MMA

2. How long have you been training Muay Thai?

I have been training Muay Thai since November 2016

3. Have you ever competed at TBA before? If so, what has been your experience?

This is my first year competing at TBA!

4. How does a tournament differ from an ordinary fight?

Tournaments are vastly different than single fights. It takes a lot to be able to get mentally prepared for any competition, but it’s especially tough to maintain your mental edge for a few days in a row without burning yourself out during down-time. The reward of winning a big tournament is also bigger than that of single fights. Winning is the best feeling in the world, but winning enough consecutive times to prove to be best in the bracket.. there’s nothing like it!

5. Why did you choose to get into Muay Thai?

I wrestled for most of my life. My dream is to be the best Middleweight MMA fighter in the world. I have to develop my striking, add it to my arsenal, and be a more well-rounded, dangerous fighter.

6. Why did you choose to get into fighting?

(This May be a too honest answer): Simply put, I burnt out in the sport of wrestling towards the end of my college career. I started partying and getting into trouble more, developed some toxic habits, and just didn’t have the fire anymore. So I quit. I began training MMA, but had no urge to compete. Then, I stopped training, and life got boring. When I found the Cellar, I made the choice right there to commit myself to the lifestyle. I fight because I know someday I’ll be the best!

7. Is fighting the same or different than you expected it to be?

Fighting is exactly how I thought it would be. I’m no stranger to competition.

8. What was your first fight like? If you have never fought before… what are you most looking forward to?

My first fight had a lot of promise. I was landing good shots on the guy, taking him down at will, etc. On one of my takedowns, my hamstring completely severed from my tailbone, leaving my right leg useless. I decided to keep fighting, and was TKOd shortly in the second round. This was the setback that fueled my fire even more!

9. How have you grown since your first fight to now?

I am a more evolved, sharper, and more savage Silverback than ever before!

10. What would you say has been the biggest benefit to fighting?

Fighting is the ultimate adversity. So, if you can fight, you sure know how to face even the toughest life adversities, and overcome them fearlessly.

11. What is your favorite part of getting ready for a fight? What is your favorite part of the actual fight?

I am weird before fights. I need to be calm, in a good/happy mood, but ready to flip the kill switch and be a crazy man. I love talking to my coaches and teammates, and bumping music on my headphones. My favorite part in the fight is seeing the other guys face when he realized how hard I just hit him!

12. What is your least favorite part of getting ready for a fight? What is your least favorite part of the actual fight?

The only thing I don’t like while getting ready for fights is having to go to the bathroom so many times due to nerves!

13. What does a typical “fight camp” look like for you?

Fight camp is a rigorous training schedule with a strict diet. I focus a lot of technique, cardio, and mental toughness.

14. What does a typical “fight diet” look like for you?

My fight diet is fairly simple: low carb, high protein, fiber, and good fats. Absolutely no booze!

15. How does it feel to fight alongside so many teammates?

My teammates are killers (even the ones who haven’t fought yet)… it’s an honor to fight alongside them! We are a family!

16. How have your teammates and coaches helped you through this camp?

My coaches and teammates are the sole reason why I have any striking skill whatsoever! They hold me accountable, and do not go easy on me!

17. What advice would you offer to someone who aspires to fight one day?

If you’re looking to fight, commit to it. DO NOT BE DEDICATED. BE COMMITTED. You can DEDICATE yourself to an hour a day of training. You COMMIT your life to the lifestyle of the sport. Fighting will change you. If you’re going to do it, give it everything you have!