Yoder and Cooper were cast mates on the UFC Ultimate Fighter 23, which allowed Cooper to see a different side of her UFC Fight Night Denver foe.
“I liked Ashley, she had a good story and she definitely seemed like she cared about this. She trained hard, so of course I liked her. Its been a long time, it didn’t cross my mind (about having reservations fighting Yoder). I thought in the house I was gonna fight her, so I was kind of preparing for that and I asked my coaches for the fight with her originally and I didn’t get it. As soon as I heard the name for this fight, I was like ‘of course.’ Its been a long time, so skills are different…motivations is different…everything is different three years later. I understand how she fights and how she trains, another thing I notice in the house was yes she lost in her fight, but after she lost…she drank and became like not very focused and I thought (she) didn’t care too much about it. That doesn’t mean she’s gonna lose or win a fight, but to me, I’m going to be perfect in the house no matter what…whether I won or lost. In the back of my head, I’m like ‘I wouldn’t have done anything like that.’ I’m not gonna drink and be crazy, they called her Hurricane Ashley because she was a mess. I can remember that and it gives me a lot of motivation, I see on social media that she’s drinking and partying…I’m not sure she’s doing that anymore after the contracts were signed. I try to be as perfect as possible and I said perfection isn’t everything, but it does give me something in the back of my mind. I don’t know how she was after she lost a fight or how dedicated she was or non-dedicated, I liked that I was able to live in the house with her for awhile to figure that out,” says Cooper in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s James Lynch.
This fight is going to be a crucial battle for both competitors, as Cooper and Yoder have a combined 2-6-0 record in UFC competition.
Cooper has a specific game plan to beat Yoder, which includes the bout not going past the second stanza.
“Ashley is a long, rangier striker and she loves takedowns. I’ve been visualizing a lot and I just think that going forward and hitting her with big shots, she tends to wear out when getting hit. I see like her cardio dropping out, I don’t see it dropping from grappling or all these things that normal fighters get tired from. I think Ashley gets tired from getting hit, I’m just gonna use quick inside shots and defend the takedown. If I see a takedown and I’m going to take it, but I see it going in…probably to feel her out…I like feeling her out in the first round. Make her feel unconfident, make her start diving for shots and I think I’m gonna get a second round TKO,” says Cooper.