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The Ultimate Fighter Blog: Amanda Cooper - Ep. 5

Amanda Bobby Cooper is a strawweight contestant on Season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Joanna vs Team Claudia. This season Cooper has signed on to write weekly blog posts that offer the inside scoop on life in the house as well as previewing what’s ahead.
 
The ladies step in the cage again as Team Claudia tries to continue our unbeaten streak! In Mixed Martial Arts it's rare to encounter an opponent who has the same style as you, even when you are both strikers. One fighter may favor movement and countering, and the other may prefer damage and pressure.

The beauty in MMA is the victor is not always the more skilled athlete, the one with the most experience or even the better record. We often laugh about my home academy because the person on bottom is not always losing. There are many ways to win a fight and to the normal eye they're seeing checkers when we are playing chess.

We've all seen countless examples where an underdog can pull off the win - the person who competes passionately and has an indomitable will that is often more dangerous than the credentialed fighter. One submission, one kick or one takedown can quickly change the outcome in this sport. And that's why it's the most exciting sport in the world.

In this week's competition it could be argued that you're witnessing the classic, "striker" vs "grappler" in these two ladies from England. We all knew that if the fight remained on the feet, Lanchana would have an edge, and Helen's game plan would be to try to drag the fight to the ground as she did in her elimination fight.

I feel that when you're competing against an opponent with a polar opposite style that it becomes easier to game plan, mentally prep and focus on drilling certain aspects during camp. The entire strategy becomes easier, and if you're able to follow it, a win is highly probable.
RELATED CONTENT: WATCH - Episode 5 tonight on FS1

When I compete against a well-rounded martial artist I feel less pressure or stress than when someone is a true expert at either striking or Jiu-jitsu. An example for this is if I'm facing a high level striker, they're very dangerous and have the ability to finish the fight quickly standing up. This makes the exchanges stressful and creates hesitation and a forced game plan. When someone is well-rounded, they are decent at everything but often times not exceptional at anything. I am able to dictate where the fight takes place and not forced to rush a specific plan.

Although wrestlers make an exceptional transition into MMA, and in many cases have been champions, I know that if I'm the superior striker and Jiu-jitsu fighter they only have one way to beat me.
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When you find out about your next fight a few days prior you never have time to get too nervous or worry about their strengths and weaknesses and how to prep for those areas. You have to put trust in the coaching staff and know to make it your fight from start to finish. I feel this is absolutely essential when competing against someone with an opposing competition style.

Team Claudia did a phenomenal job at training for any opponent that would be selected because the coaches made an initial evaluation of our strengths and weaknesses, then focused on the areas that could be improved in a short period. This relieved a lot of stress because we weren't making last minute adjustments, we had been game planning from Day 1 and working on problematic areas from the start. Since the majority of our team were grapplers, practice structure was simple and we didn't have to bounce around often.

This opportunity was a once in a lifetime experience because I was able to pick the brains of a world class coaching staff and train alongside other female professionals chasing down the same dream that I am.

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