Will “The Kill” Chope: Fighting is Staying Alive

Will Chope’s Fight Rate Puts Donald Cerrone to Shame

 

Will “The Kill” Chope is one of the busiest fighters on the planet. “So far in 2016 I have only had five fights,” Will opened up our conversation disappointed. That’s three Muay Thai and two MMA fights in three months and two days. And on April 23 at URCC: Rebellion, he will be fighting for the sixth time, vying for the promotion’s vacant lightweight title.

In 2013, Chope was next in line for a title shot in the featherweight division against Richie Sapno. That fight never materialized. Instead, four fights later, we saw Chope debut in the UFC against current top contender Max Holloway January of 2014. “Back in 2013, I left the URCC for a big fight to get me in the UFC. But I love the URCC. The URCC definitely helped me in my career early on, so it’s great to get back to my roots. Plus, fighting in the Philippines is always incredible,” Will told us about his motivation to fight for the URCC once again.

Will also enjoys a unique contractual agreement with the URCC in which he is not tied down to the promotion. According to Chope, “I am a freelance fighter. I have always managed to keep my freedom to fight. Nobody owns me as I am self-managed and gym hop all over Asia.”

In the Holloway fight, we saw Holloway adjust his game plan to negate Chope’s reach advantage. Incurring a TKO loss, Chope was let go after just one fight. “Honestly, the only show I want to be exclusive for is the UFC,” Will confided, “I really do hope I can make my way back inside the Octagon someday.”

Instead of sulking, Will was back in the local circuits, competing a total of 13 times in 2014 and 2015 in MMA alone; he was equally busy taking Muay Thai fights across Asia. What makes Will take fights at such an insane rate, one may ask? Well, for him, fighting is staying alive.

“I don’t have a real job. Literally the only way I make money is if I fight. Sponsors like Naga Conglomerate and Rubatek Fighters definitely help. But when it comes down to it, if I don’t fight me and my family don’t have enough money to live. So that is why you will always see me fighting a lot. Even if I just had a fight, I will fight again right away so I can give my family a comfortable life.”

Of course, a title fight is not just any other fight. So we wanted to know what Will’s mindset is going into this fight against Legacy Gym Boracay’s Richie Redman.

“I know he is a big strong guy, but besides that I don’t know much else. I was originally supposed to fight Isaiah Ordiz for the URCC belt, but for some reason Ordiz declined. I still hope I can get that fight in the future, but for now I am just happy Redman stepped up to face me. I won’t underestimate him, and I want the belt so losing is not an option.”

On our end, we’re ecstatic to see “Lanky Madness” unfold in the URCC once more. Will is one of those fighters who – whether he has an initial strategy or not – ends up exchanging as much leather as he could with his opponents. Whether “Rebellion” brings him much closer to a return to the UFC or not, we still need to find out, but Chope assures us: “If for some reason [a return to the UFC] doesn’t happen, then you will continue to see me fight all over and so often.”

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John Hudson Go is the Editor-in-Chief of MMA Philippines.

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