Christopher William Cope is an American mixed martial artist currently competing in the welterweight division. He was a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos, and has also competed for the UFC as well as Strikeforce.
Born and raised in Carmel Valley, California, Chris Cope began training in karate when he was eight years old before progressing into Taekwondo and then Kempo. While at Carmel High School, he added kickboxing to his game and began to fight on the local mixed martial arts circuit. Cope was one of only four juniors to earn a spot on the 1999-2000 Carmel High Varsity basketball team, which featured several future college players. He also played baseball all four years of high school.
In April 2000, Cope participated in a week-long trip to the California high desert at Anza Borrego and Joshua Tree. This trip, which combined intense physical training with deep spiritual reflection, was to have a profound effect on Cope's athletic and philosophical development. Following high school, Cope graduated from The University of California at Santa Barbara where he earned a degree in sociology.
He fought on the amateur circuit and earned the International Kickboxing Federation California cruiserweight title in 2004. Soon after, Cope committed himself to further developing his mixed martial arts repertoire and began grappling with jiu-jitsu expert Jeff Glover to further round out his overall skills.
Upon completion of his courses in 2005, Cope joined AKA MMA and trained with the likes of Josh Koscheck, Phil Baroni and Mike Swick. Three months later he drove south to San Diego and began training with KJ Noons and Tyrone Glover and, shortly after, turned pro where he amassed a 4-1 overall record.
The self-proclaimed gym rat has settled into Arena MMA after bouncing around several gyms in California. Cope currently works at a local San Diego law firm but still manages to train two times a day, six days a week.
Cope had signed with the UFC in 2011 to compete on the The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos.
Cope was the fifth pick on Team Lesnar and tenth overall. dos Santos had selected Cope to face the heavy favorite, Javier Torres, for the second preliminary bout. After a three round battle, Cope was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Cope's quarter-final match was against Team dos Santos' Shamar Bailey. Cope defeated Bailey after two rounds via unanimous decision. Cope showed good takedown defense along with immediately following his corner's advice throughout the fight.
In the semifinals Cope was defeated by Ramsey Nijem via TKO in the second round, knocking him out of the tournament.
Even though he lost in the semifinals, Cope remained signed after the show. He made his official UFC debut June 4, 2011 on The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale card, fighting against fellow semifinalist and teammate, Chuck O'Neil. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Cope faced promotional newcomer Che Mills on November 5, 2011 at UFC 138. He lost the fight via TKO .
Cope next fought Matt Brown on February 4, 2012 at UFC 143. He lost the fight via TKO in the second round.
Following his loss to Brown, Cope was released from the UFC.
Cope had signed with Native Fighting Championship, a region organization, close to his home.
Chris Cope currently resides in New Hyde Park, Long Island New York. He lives behind a cemetery with an old war veteran. He currently ranks as the #17 Membership Specialist at the UFC Gym Long Island.
Chris Cope faced Elijah Harshburger for the vacant ROC Welterweight Championship at Ring of Combat 47 on January 24, 2014. Though Cope was the heavy favorite coming into the fight, he would lost the fight via rear-naked choke.
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