By Cheyene Miller
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Three fighters from London’s United Martial Arts academy will showcase their talents in the cage on November 23 for Hardrock MMA 59 in Somerset.
Among those fighters is Scott “Ebenezer” Hope, who is one of UMA’s two head coaches and 6-3 as a professional fighter. Hope, 32, is on a five fight winning streak with his most recent win being a brutal first round KO (knockout) back in April of this year.
“I’ve stayed in really good shape in between fights,” said Hope. “I didn’t let myself get too fat on Dunkin’ Doughnuts and stuff. This training camp has went a lot easier than the last one, so I’m really happy about that.”
This will be the second time Hope has fought in the last eight months, a trend he hopes to continue. “This will put me at two fights for this year, which is good for me,” said Hope. “My goal is a minimum of 3, but I’d like to do 4 in 2014. Two would be unsatisfactory.”
Hope’s opponent is Jonathan Cook, who is 2-2 as a professional and is 25, seven years younger than Hope. “He’s a legit opponent,” Hope said of Cook. “He has a solid amateur career, and his two losses have come to top level competition. This guy is really tough.”
While he respects his opponent’s talent and potential, Hope was clear of his intentions. “I predict a heavy onslaught of ground and pound that finished him in the first round,” said Hope. “The first mistake he makes, I’m going to get him out of there.”
What he lacks compared to Hope in experience, Cook makes up for in weight. Cook is billed at 210 pounds, while Hope typically fights at 185 or 170 pounds. Both of Cook’s professional wins have come by submission, one to strikes and one to a guillotine choke hold.
Also representing UMA will be two of Hope’s students, heavyweight Jonathan “Brick” House and welterweight Jarrod “the Possum” George. Both fighters desire to mirror Hope, who has won five of his pro fights in the first round, and finish their fights early.
“I’ll finish him off,” House said of his unnamed opponent. “I’ll hurt him on the feet, and when he shoots for the takedown I’ll stuff it and finish him off.” House is 13-2 as an amateur, and is the No. 1 contender for the Kentucky Fighting Challenge, another major MMA promotion in the state.
Jarrod George, 2-0 as an amateur, would also like to end his fight in the first round, albeit in a different manner. “I want it to go to the ground, and be over quickly,” said George.
George’s nickname, “the Possum,” was affectionately given to him by his coaches and training partners based on his passive fighting style. “I guess it came from times in training where I would act more hurt than I actually was, to get guys to put their hands down,” said George.
Both fighters agreed it was special having their coach fighting on the same card as them. “I do like that,” said House. "It’s like he’s leading me into battle. We’re a team, we fight together, we win together.”
George made a similar comment. “We’re both working really hard together, so it’s just going to make it easier,” said George.
All three fighters reaffirmed their past record of early first round stoppages, and made guarantees the crowd in Somerset would be entertained.
“Regardless of what happens, the crowd will see some good fights,” said George.
Hardrock MMA 59 takes place on November 23 at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Ky. The fights start at 7:30 p.m.