Always a fan favorite, Dewey Cooper will once again step into the K-1 arena on April 29th, with an opening bout against one of the top kickboxers in the world, German born Stefan Leko.Always a fan favorite, Dewey Cooper will once again step into the K-1 arena on April 29th, with an opening bout against one of the top kickboxers in the world, German born Stefan Leko. Though many have speculated how this match-up might turn out, the Black Kobra is poised to strike with an intensity of which, up until now, has not been seen in his career. Being an experienced Kickboxer and an undefeated Boxer, Cooper could prove to be double trouble. The consumate professional, Dewey took time out of his demanding schedule to speak with me about his thoughts on next week’s Mayhem at the Mirage.
RC: What can we expect to see from you in this tournament that we haven’t seen thus far?
DC: Me at 100% of my abilities. In the past you have seen bits and pieces of what I am capable of, but this time I am in great shape and have trained extremely hard. You will see a fighter using intelligence over strength. My aim on the 29th is to transfer from good to great.
RC: I know awhile back you lost a few K-1 matches in a row by very slim margins. One that comes to mind is the Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge fight. Do you feel the judging will be more favorable this time around?
DC: I have fought some very tough opponents in the past like Carter Williams, Mighty Mo, and many more, but let’s be realistic. Anyone who saw that fight knows that I was a victim of bogus judging. I am the first to admit it when I lose, but the crowd knows what really happened. I matched him in punching, kicking, and ring work. And the truth is, I took all his shots and he didn’t hurt me at all. But I am not one to cry about a fight. I care more about making the fans happy than one particular match. I felt I beat him in every wayand it is not my cross to bear. The judges are the ones who have to live with it on their conscience. The true fans know I won’t quit or go down without a fight, so love me or hate me, you won’t ever hear any excuses out of me. I have continued fighting with broken hands, feet, and ribs, and April 29th will be no different in that aspect. I am going in and giving it my best, no matter what the outcome may be. Hopefully, this time the judging will be better.
RC: How do you feel about your match-up with Stefan Leko?
DC: Stefan Leko…WOW! I have a tremendous amount of respect for Stefan. Actually, we hung out together in Croatia and outside the ring we are good friends. He is a great fighter, a great athlete, and a great guy. I am ready for a high paced fight. Regardless of the outcome, after the fight I will walk out with my head held high, and Stefan and I will probably go out and get drunk together!
RC: I saw a post on a K-1 forum that said Leko was going to win “easily”. Care to respond to that statement?
DC: Anyone who thinks that, has never seen me fight before. I take that as an insult and no one ever gets a win from me “easily”. Stefan trains at one of the best schools in Holland, with some of the top people in the business, and I know he will be a challenge, but anytime someone says something like that, it just empowers me more. I will take a statement like that and make that person eat those words. So, though some may take it negatively, I will turn it around and use it in a positive way towards my training and my attitude.
RC: Others have speculated that Carter Williams will win this tournament. Care to share your opinion on that view?
DC: Like everyone else, Carter has a chance but in my opinion, it will be either Stefan or myself. Carter got beat by Gary (Goodridge) in Hawaii, so nobody really knows the dynamics of this tournament. You can’t ever believe all the hype. Carter has been on the decline in the last year and a half. Stefan is really the ultimate force to be reckoned with. He is a classy guy and a hell of a fighter, so I am focusing on that first match.
RC: Looking back on your match with Yusuke Fujimoto in May of 2003, what did you learn from that fight and what would you have done differently?
DC: I learned that when I block kicks, the other guy still gets the points! Otherwise, there isn’t really anything I would have changed; I did what I always do. Again, I would have to write that one off to questionable judging as well. He really didn’t hurt me with those body kicks. But to me, every fight is like a new birth, and you have to adapt to what life has in front of you. I learn something from every fight and each one makes me a better fighter from the experience.
RC: Though many know you as a Kickboxer, you are also an undefeated professional boxer with a record of 14-0-2, with 9 KO’s. Can you tell me about your recent victory over Cullen Rogers just a few weeks ago? Also, when is your next boxing match slated for?
DC. I took that fight because it had been awhile since I was in the ring, and I needed a good warm-up match for the K-1 tournament. I won the fight by a large point margin, but it would have been nice to knock him out. For some reason, he didn’t cooperate. (Ha Ha) I am set to box again in the middle of May, but that depends on what happens on April 29th. I may be either too injured or have to change my plans. I have not signed the contract yet but it is still an option for me.
RC: Some fans have expressed a desire to see you compete in Mixed Martial Arts. Any chance we will see you in that venue anytime soon?
DC: I would love to, if I were into grappling. But unfortunately, I am not. I am a standup fighter. That’s my background. I work clinch techniques with a lot of MMA guys, but ground and pound is a whole different set of rules. I am not stupid enough to set myself up to lose in that situation. Besides, like Phil Baroni, I got too much heart to tap out or quit. I would end up getting a broken arm or choked out!
RC: Getting back to K-1, who would you like to fight in the future?
DC: I would have loved to have fought Bob Sapp before CroCop beat him. He was very popular at the time. Fighting big tall monsters intrigue me. But, honestly, I think all the best fighters are on this card on the 29th. Gary, Stefan, Carter, they are all great! I am a Pro and I will fight anyone they choose to put me in the ring with.
RC: Who are your heroes outside of martial arts?
DC: I am a martial artist, first and foremost, so I don’t really have many heroes outside of that. I really respect Peter “Sugarfoot” Cunningham, and Rob “The Dutchman” Kaman. My greatest inspiration comes from my father, who passed away about a year ago, and now, my nine-month-old daughter, Shaolin. I am fighting for them. Otherwise, I would like to give a shout-out and special thanks to team Black Kobra; the great Jeff Mayweather, Nick Blomgren, who I have been training with for twelve years, and to my best friend since high school, T.J. Blackburn. I couldn’t do it without them.
RC: I understand you have started a record label; can you give us some details about this new endeavor?
DC: My label is called Head Trauma Records. I named it Head Trauma because it relates to both martial arts and music. As a pugilist, when you get “rocked” in fighting it is a trauma to the head. In music, the lyrics cause a trauma to your head in a good way!
RC: This brings us to my next question. The fans want to know, what do you plan to bring to the show in terms of live entertainment?
DC: I will be bringing along some great acts from the label. Entering the ring with me will be UBC with Phoenix Orion, Canibus, and some phenomenal break-dancers, The Knucklehead Zoo. You won’t want to miss it. It will be very exciting!
RC: Thanks a lot for the interview, any last comments?
DC: I just want the fans to know that I will be doing my very best. I am passionate about my fighting and approach it like I do everything in life. I will always go over the hurdle or through the hurdle. Never around it. Nothing is cut and dried, so may the best man win!
RC: One last question. Will the Kobra girls be there?
DC: Oh yeah, they will definitely be there! And believe me, they are lookin’ good!
Please visit Dewey Cooper’s website at: www.blackkobra.com and his record label at: www.headtraumarecords.com.