Image from URCC's Facebook page
MANILA, Philippines – Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) president Alvin Aguilar is eagerly awaiting Will Chope's upcoming championship opportunity at the organization's "Rebellion" event on April 23.
Chope is booked to face Richie Redman for the vacant URCC lightweight belt that was previously held by Team Lakay's Honorio Banario, who relinquished the silver-plated strap after winning the inaugural ONE Championship featherweight title in February 2013.
"I am so happy. Will Chope is a fighter who fights every week. If he's not in the Philippines, he is elsewhere fighting," Aguilar told Rappler.
Chope (29-9) has 38 fights to his own credit since he started his mixed martial arts career (MMA) in August 2012. He has been part of several promotions, including Pacific Xtreme Combat, Pancrase, Pacific Rim Organized Fighting, and Dare Fight Sports.
But the 25-year-old native of Sacramento, California is remembered for his stellar run in the URCC, where he made 7 appearances for the longest-running MMA company in the Southeast Asian region.
Chope captured the interim URCC featherweight title in April 2013 by routing Filipino fighter Andrew Benibe via first-round submission before leaving the promotion.
Due to his impressive résumé, Chope was noticed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and had his Octagon debut in January 2014 in a losing effort against Max Holloway.
As he sought to bounce back from the second-round stoppage loss to Holloway, Chope was infamously released from his UFC contract less than 24 hours before he was scheduled to have his second UFC outing versus Diego Brandao.
Reports circulated online, revealing that Chope was discharged from the United States military for domestic violence in November 2009.
Although he and his ex-wife went out in public to show that they are on good terms, Chope had to build his reputation from scratch.
Since the UFC handed the pink slip to him, Chope has competed in 13 bouts and won 10 of them.
The URCC jubilantly welcomed him back in September 2015 when he compelled Filipino stalwart Patrick Manicad to tap with a first-round rear-naked choke.
"He is a true warrior who can push our countrymen. And it's good that we have a UFC veteran among the ranks," Aguilar said. – Rappler.com