SBG Manchester fighter Steven Hooper returns to the Cage Warriors cage this Friday to kickstart his 2022 campaign in the BEC Arena in Manchester.
Graham Boylan and his team are coming off a successful sold-out show that took place at the O2 in London two weeks ago, and show no intention of slowing down.
We had the opportunity on speaking with Steven Hooper before he makes the walk in the hope of righting the wrong from his last outing against Mike Figlak. Hooper will welcome Irishman Adam Shelly to the promotion.
Interview With Steven Hooper
One week out from fight night. How are you feeling ahead of your return to action? How has time off been for you?
I am feeling in really good shape. I’ve trained hard for this. the time off is always good for my body as I haven’t had to do the weight cut in a year, plus I had time to improve my skill set.
On the time off, you suffered a loss at the hands-off of Mike Figlak. Any particular reason for the long stretch off, or was nothing playing ball in terms of fights?
It’s been difficult to get matched with local shows returning after the pandemic. Everyone is looking for an easy match to get back into it so no one would accept a fight with me.
Challenges in Preparation?
Regarding preparation, have you faced any challenges in that department, considering your opponent was only confirmed, say, two weeks ago? How do you formulate a camp/game plan when you’re not certain who will be standing across from you?
I knew a bit longer about the fight. They didn’t announce them until two weeks ago, plus I was in full fight camp from the start of the year as I knew I’d get offered something in the first quarter of this year as it’s the time of year with many shows.
I like to ask those I’ve never spoken with about their journey into MMA and why it was a passion they decided to pursue? Do you have any interesting stories in that department?
I do not get any interesting stories. I have always been into martial arts, and if you can find a way to make money from it, why not? Plus, I like to put myself far out of my comfort zone as day to day life to me is boring, and it’s rewarding to get through it each time, most people only want to experience the warrior archetype by watching films/sports or playing video games, but I’m not about that I’m out here living it for real and loving it.
Goals for 2022
What is Steven Hooper looking to get out of 2022 in terms of competition?
We will see what happens. I have always competed in Jiu-jitsu, so I’ve always got competition there. The thing with mma post-pandemic at this level is it’s hard to get into fights. Many people from my era who haven’t made it to the big leagues have started retiring, and most of the new era doesn’t want it, so we will just see what’s on offer after.
You meet Adam Shelley, who doesn’t quite have the same experience as you do. How do you feel about your matchup against the Irishman? Are there any departments you feel you have a sizeable advantage in?
I think he’s been a striker for a while. I’m not coming in delusional he’s from a good mma gym, so I know he will be coming in well prepared, but I feel like I have the experience edge in full contact, striking and grappling. I’ll be looking to mix it up to find out the best route to winning by stoppage.
When you put your head on the pillow at night, there must be a scenario you play over and over in your head. What type of fight are you expecting next Friday from the BEC Arena in Manchester?
I will come out and display my hard work expect to see an improved skill set. I don’t fight for points. I’m coming to finish the fight with either strikes or submission, and I’m in great shape. Whatever round is good for me.
Featured image credits to Cage Warriors