According to the official UFC 143 preliminary card, Chris Cope (5-2) is set to take on Matt Brown (12-11) in just a few short hours.
However, according to Cope—that's not the case at all.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Garrett Derr, Cope shared how he'll be in a welterweight showdown with himself when the cage doors shut on Feb. 4.
"I'm not fighting Matt Brown, I'm fighting myself. You know, every time you enter the cage or the Octagon you're truly fighting yourself," said Cope. "You're not only fighting yourself, but your own fears."
"You're fighting your own anxieties. So, when I step foot inside the Octagon, I'm not fighting Matt Brown at all, I'll be fighting myself," stated Cope. "That's my biggest test."
While Cope's biggest battle may in fact be himself, he'll still have to get through Brown in order to have his hand raised when all is said and done.
But, "C-Murder" is confident he'll be able to defeat the fighter who he often compares himself to in Brown.
"Matt is a highly dangerous fighter. He's a very, very good fighter and he has beaten some really great guys in the past. He started off his UFC career with a 3-1 record once he came off the show. The only time he loses is when he gets submitted," shared Cope. "He is an extremely tough opponent."
"He took Dong Hyun Kim to a third-round split decision and he nearly killed Pete Sell. I really see him as one of those guys who's really similar to me. He works really hard from what I hear and puts a lot of time in at the gym," said Cope. "He's fought 10 times in the UFC."
"I like the matchup because we're like the same fighter. We've both had our struggles in past fights and we both came on the radar when no one really expected us to. Whenever you get to fight someone in the UFC, you know you'll be tested," stated Cope.
While Cope appears to be settling down and enjoying life inside the Octagon—it wasn't exactly what he had in mind after being a multi-sport athlete in during his high school days.
"When I was in high school, I started playing everything all the other kids played. I played basketball and baseball and I wanted to play college ball. I played junior college ball and realized I didn't love it as much as I thought."
"I realized that I loved the martial arts more. I started doing more and more karate. I started training with kick boxers but I never really thought I would fight. Then, after a while they set up a fight for me and I won.
"I ended up going to a camp where Chuck Liddell, Karo Parisyan, and Pat Miletich were at and learned a lot," stated Cope. "So, it was something I really started to love and I decided to go for it."
Despite not being the biggest or the strongest fighter around, Cope had high expectations that he would one day be fighting in the UFC.
Cope's dreams came to be a reality when he defeated Chuck O' Neil at the Ultimate Fighter Season 13 Finale via unanimous decision.
"I definitely had beliefs that I could one day make it to the UFC. I know one thing—if you work hard enough at something and believe in yourself, you can get there. You don't miss practice and you work with people who've already been there, it'll happen," shared Cope.
"I might not be fastest or even the strongest guy out there but I'm working day in and day out to get better . I'm not a professional fighter, I'm a martial artistwho fights professionally," said Cope. "I'll be in martial arts until the day I die."
Cope believes hard work combined with open ears will ultimately lead you down a road to success.
"The only thing I'm doing in my fight against Brown is sticking to the game plan and listening to my coaches and my corner," stated Cope. "As soon as that cage door closes, my coaches are the controller and I'm the RC car."
"I pushed myself through training camp and this was by far the hardest camp compared to any of the others. I've done all I can. I've done all my studies, and now it's time to show for it," stated Cope.
Following Cope's bout will come the main event of the evening when Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit clash for the chance of becoming the newest UFC interim welterweight champion.
Cope weighed in with how he thought the championship bout would unfold.
"I think Condit can shock a lot of people. But, unfortunately I see Diaz winning. I don't like him as a person but I respect him as fighter. He's fought anyone and everyone," shared Cope. "One thing about him is that he's always in gym and he gets better every day and in every way."
While Cope's dream of fighting in the UFC has already been accomplished, he still has two goals he'd like to achieve before he can hang up his gloves once and for all.
"I've always really had three goals to accomplish in my career. The first was to make it to the UFC. The next would be to someday fight in Japan. And, my last goal is to win a belt in a major organization," stated Cope. "Once I get those goals, then I'll retire."
Cope concluded by thanking those who've helped him get to where he is today.
"I really would like to thank all my sponsors, coaches, and all the guys that have helped me become the martial artist I am today," said Cope.
"Without them, none of this would be possible."
For additional information, follow Garrett Derr on Twitter.
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