Ex-NRL star pals up to Dana, wants to fight Gallen

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By Melanie Dinjaski and Sacha Mirzabegian

Former NRL star Matt Cooper has challenged retired Sharks captain Paul Gallen to a blockbuster MMA combat and says he is acquired assist from at least UFC president Dana White to make it occur.

Cooper performed practically 250 NRL video games for the St George Illawarra Dragons and had consultant caps for the NSW Blues and Kangaroos in his illustrious rugby league profession earlier than retiring after the 2013 season.

Now 42, Cooper has spent his post-footy profession coaching in combined martial arts, sharing the gymnasium with fellow Illawarra native, UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, and for a number of years he has been determined to combat Gallen, however the league star-turned boxer retains “brushing him” for a date within the cage.

Gallen’s household urges NRL legend to give up boxing

Cooper stated Gallen solely desires to combat within the boxing ring, nonetheless the previous centre stated that is not need the individuals need.

“I really feel like footy gamers boxing one another is fairly useless. I do not suppose it is what everybody desires to see,” Cooper informed Large World of Sports activities.

“I feel individuals wish to see a change. Most individuals love the UFC and that is the place it is going.

“I am eager to combat him. I’ve stated earlier than within the media. Everybody desires to see it. I wish to be his first MMA combat. I texted him a few years in the past and he is stated he would if the cash’s proper.”

Cooper wasn’t simply voicing an opinion both. He stated UFC boss White even gave the inexperienced mild to a possible showdown between the pair years in the past.

“I have been mates with Dana White for some time, since about 2014 when Rhonda Rousey got here out right here,” Cooper defined.

“I requested Dana, I stated, ‘Look I would like to combat within the UFC’. He was a bit hesitant in the beginning however once I stated if me and Gallen had been combating in Australia it might get mainstream media… as a result of when UFC involves Australia they normally do not get mainstream media. And his eyes lit up. And he was like, ‘Yeah I would allow you to combat’.

“He was fairly eager to get me on an precise UFC card however since COVID-19 has hit they have not been to Australia shortly. It does not look they will be in Australia shortly, however that does not imply me and Gallen cannot combat.”

Cooper claimed Gallen’s supervisor proposed a boxing match, which wasn’t effectively obtained.

“I feel he is attempting to make his title in boxing,” Cooper stated.

“His supervisor requested me If I might simply field him – I stated nobody desires to see that. Folks wish to see us within the cage.”

Cooper conceded with a UFC champion like Volkanovski in his nook and eight years of MMA coaching below his sleeve, it might be unfair to anticipate Gallen to combat him in a cage instantly, so he’s keen to present it time.

“I would in all probability have to present him till subsequent yr,” Cooper stated.

“He is accomplished wrestling earlier than. I feel he is acquired an MMA coach so it in all probability would not take him too lengthy however I would be keen to attend until in all probability simply earlier than the season begins subsequent yr – [that] can be a super time.

“I feel the hype between me and him can be large. I get stopped on the road on a regular basis and requested, ‘When are you going to combat Gallen?’

“I’ve known as him out earlier than. I really feel like he is ducking me. I’ve known as him out a few instances and he is brushed it off.”

As for whether or not the fight sports-loving public would wish to see a 39-year-old and 42-year-old former footy participant duo combat, Cooper was adamant they may placed on a present, earlier than issuing a warning to Gallen.

“There’s been UFC world champs of their forties. I do not suppose age issues on this sport. It isn’t like footy the place you need to play each week,” Cooper stated.

“He is a tricky bloke. He is performed footy and boxed at a excessive stage. To me I really feel like he is a brawler. He is match and might take a punch.

“But when he desires to step into the cage he will should take care of much more. I reckon I’ve acquired extra benefits over him than within the cage.

“If he desires it I am able to go and I am going to give him time to prepare.”

Regardless of revealing household had advised he give up boxing for his well being after being defeated by a tenth spherical TKO to Justis Huni final month, Gallen stated earlier this week that he’ll combat once more.

“Over 400 video games of soccer and 15 fights, I have been harm as soon as,” he informed Large World of Sports activities Radio.

“I’ve nothing to show, however I wish to make a greenback.

“The gives which have come to me over the previous three weeks have been unbelievable from that [Huni] combat.

“It is like my shares have gone up. I can not think about what would have occurred had I gained that combat.”

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