Cope Not Just a Dark Horse Anymore

By Jason Probst Jun 7, 2011


Chris Cope looked vastly improved in his unanimous decision over Chuck O’Neil | Spike TV



In a previous piece, I discussed the “Post-TUF Improvement Factor.” In review, it is that gap between “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show and when the fighters compete in real-time at a live UFC event. Frankly, it is impressive to see the gains that some make, especially compared to the lack of improvement by others.

There are plenty of reasons for why guys look more talented at “The Ultimate Fighter” Finales than they do on the actual show. They have a full camp, and they are not fighting twice or more over the course of a few days -- part of the show that remains a sorely overlooked factor in how many perform.

At “The Ultimate Fighter 13” Finale on Saturday in Las Vegas, Chris Cope looked vastly improved in his unanimous decision over Chuck O'Neil, who, ironically, did not look much different than he did on the show. The difference came from Cope sitting down more on his punches, throwing effectively and mixing up combinations with a sharpness and timing he did not have previously.

All hats off to Cope, whose performance makes him anything but a “dark horse” in the future. He may not be the prettiest or most physically talented fighter, but he is going to be prepared and constantly working on his game, which can ultimately mean more than raw physical gifts.
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