Chase Hooper and Ben Askren have developed quite the bond over the last few months.
Following Hooper’s successful UFC debut TKO win over Daniel Teymur at UFC 245, Askren took to Twitter to congratulate the unbeaten 20-year-old in a hilarious way.
Great job Son https://t.co/9T8MPRGgMZ— Come catch these hands (@Benaskren) December 15, 2019
Around an hour later, Hooper thanked his “dad” for the kind words and, all of a sudden, a new bond was officially created.
Thanks, Dad! Btw, where have you been? I said I didn’t like wrestling, and then you never came home?!?!? https://t.co/eXssxKBfAW— Chase Hooper (@chase_hooper) December 15, 2019
Since then, Hooper and Askren have gone back and forth at different points on social media to the delight of UFC fans. “The Dream” took things to another level during UFC 246 fight week in January. Teaming up with UFC Fight Pass, Hooper was sent to media day and found himself face-to-face with Jorge Masvidal — the man who knocked out Askren with a flying knee in five seconds at UFC 239 and asked just one question.
Hey @Benaskren.. Our #UFC246 media day correspondent, @chase_hooper’s got your back! pic.twitter.com/ejXYrzdwWv— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) January 16, 2020
As the newfound bond continues to blossom over social media, Hooper has been thoroughly enjoying it.
“I was surprised (initially) because he kind of initiated it,” Hooper told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “I remember after the fight when I did all my media stuff, they were asking me, ‘Did you hear what Ben Askren said?’, and I said I had no idea. They showed me and I was like, ‘whoa.’ He said, ‘Good job, son’, or something and that kind of kicked it off.
“He’s super cool with it. We keep going back and forth, it’s a good time.”
It was at the UFC 246 event that plans were made for Hooper and Askren to converse in person. The former UFC welterweight was in Las Vegas cornering Maycee Barber in her ESPN preliminary bout against Roxanne Modafferi.
During the unanimous decision win for Modafferi, Barber suffered a torn ACL which will keep her out of action until, optimistically, the end of the year. With the injury, the long-awaited meeting between MMA’s new father and son duo would have to be put on hold.
“We were actually going to go out after the fights and get some ice cream, put some content out,” Hooper said. “Maycee got hurt so he was caught up in that so it didn’t really work out.”
“Before all of the coronavirus stuff happened, he wanted me to go out and train with him at his gym,” Hooper continued. “I was going to, too, but everything happened and it didn’t really work out.”
While the meeting with Askren will have to wait, Hooper is hoping his next Octagon appearance will happen much sooner. The unbeaten featherweight revealed to MMA Fighting that he was scheduled to compete May 16 in the originally scheduled event in San Diego. With the UFC targeting a May 9 return to action, Hooper is hoping that fight will still be on the table, although the opponent has yet to be revealed.
In his promotional debut, Hooper didn’t feel any so-called “Octagon jitters.” With a relaxed, live-in-the-moment mentality, the Washington Native enjoyed the first 4:34 of his UFC career.
“I was happy with my performance,” Hooper said. “It was a good fight and the way it worked out, it was short enough of a gap on ESPN2 (for the UFC 245 prelims) so they showed my fight twice. That was nice.
“It was definitely a fun debut and I had a good time with it. I went into the fight and I just didn’t care. I was there, I was happy, I was excited to just make it to the UFC and I was excited to see what would happen.”
From earning a developmental deal on the Contender Series to getting on the big stage of the UFC, Hooper has learned a lot along the way.
Once he stepped into the Octagon, the learning continued. Teymur was swinging for the fences and looked to have clipped Hooper a few different times before the fight got to the mat. Hooper would eventually emerge victorious after a hard-fought battle and took a lot away from that experience.
“The shots that he caught me with, they weren’t even super hard. It was just, I’m kind of still like Bambi a little bit,” Hooper explained. “I wobble pretty easily, but it’s not getting rattled or anything. It’s just weird balance stuff because I’m still figuring out my body.”
“He was a tough opponent and he was definitely a lot bigger than he was at the weigh-ins. “He must’ve been 20 pounds bigger.
“But it was definitely a good introduction to the UFC, and a good introduction to the fans to me and my fighting style.”