• Ray Cooper III is making a case for being the best fighter to come out of Hawaii
  • Cooper III is a two-time PFL champion
  • Cooper III will try to become a three-peat PFL titleholder this season

Much like Brazil or Russia, Hawaii has the reputation for producing some of the best and toughest mixed martial artists in the world.

The island is home to a who’s who of MMA greats, including the likes of Hall of Famer and two-division UFC champion BJ Penn, former UFC lightweight champion Max Holloway, Travis Browne, Kendall Grove, Brad Tavares, and many others.

Now, another Hawaiian-born warrior is making a case for being the best fighter to come out of the Aloha State, and that’s none other than two-time PFL welterweight champion Ray Cooper III.

Ray Cooper III
Ray Cooper III PFL photo release

A second-generation MMA fighter, Cooper followed the footsteps of his father Ray Jr., who competed from 1997 to 2008.

The younger Cooper began his career in 2012, competing in smaller promotions before signing with PFL in 2018.

Under the PFL banner, Cooper was immediately impressive as he won his first four bouts by knockout--three coming in the first round.

In that stretch, he would defeat former Strikeforce champion and UFC title challenger Jake Shields twice to avenge his father’s loss to the American grappler.

In the finals, Cooper tasted defeat for the first time in the promotion after getting submitted by Magomed Magomedkerimov.

Ray Cooper III getting interviewed.
Ray Cooper III getting interviewed. PFL photo release

The following season, Cooper would bounce back and once again reach the welterweight finals.

This time, however, he would bring home the title after stopping David Michaud in the second round.

Last season, “Bradda Boy” turned in yet another impressive season, which included a decisive win over former Bellator champion and UFC standout Rory MacDonald.

In the finals, Cooper faced a familiar foe in Magomedkerimov.

After some early trouble in the fight, Cooper avenged his 2018 defeat to the Russian by third-round TKO to become a two-time PFL titleholder.

Heading into the 2022 season, Cooper figures to be one of the favorites in a stacked welterweight cast that features the likes of MacDonald, Magomedkerimov and highly-touted newcomer Jarrah Al-Silawi.

Once again, it’s going to be a tough road for Cooper, who looks to become one of the league’s first three-peat champions.

Should Cooper manage to overcome the odds and raise the PFL welterweight championship for a third-straight year, it would be fair to argue that he holds the distinction of being Hawaii’s best fighter today.

Ray Cooper III looking to be best fighter out of Hawaii
Ray Cooper III looking to be best fighter out of Hawaii PFL photo release