Ep. #88 – Greg Hopkins

Greg Hopkins is a mixed martial artist who competes for Valor Fights and is 3-0 as a professional. The prospect out of Agoge Combatives in Tennessee has finished all of his professional fights en route to a Welterweight title shot on September 12.


Greg Hopkins: Uh how’s your day been and uh. How have you been holding up throughout all the chaos? That’S going on right now in the world uh i’ve. Just i really haven’t been out dude. I mean it really changed a whole lot for me. I don’t really do a whole lot, anyways like if i’m not working or training, i’m usually at home just sitting here. You know watching sports, that’s all about all! I do or just uh going out. You know going out with my girlfriend whatnot and some teammates or whatnot traveling for work. You know a little bit going up to nashville getting some working up there and stuff. I was uh. How was training been as a whole? I’M up in canada, so stuff’s still kind of like shut down. Here we uh jiu jitsu is closed uh. So how has that been for uh for your training, uh for, like i had? I was supposed to have a fight back in march uh back in march, and i was it was in chatham against charlotte, alexander and uh that one got cancelled during covet so like right, then, and there like, after that, the gems all shut down and yeah. I was waiting for everything just to get back to normal and it just now recently we still aren’t really back to normal, yet but um i’m still able to get into the gym. I have been able to get the gym for the last like four weeks to get in there and do some sparring sessions with uh with everybody there and that’s. I i go to gogi out of chattanooga. So, like we’ve had a lot of a lot of different looks a lot of new people come in there, all the time willing to help and uh recently like over the last you know, even with that pandemic happen, we had a tornado come through chattanooga and uh Did a lot of damage so, like you know, there’s a lot of fighters that would or come from different areas all around the country like that would come here. It’S weird to have different jobs, but i ended up getting a train with a lot of high high quality, guys uh from different areas of the country, and just because, like our gym is you know one of there’s like one of three gems around in my area And they were just here in chattanooga and uh, they decided to come there. So i got a lot of good, looks from a lot of good guys, uh, not necessarily for this camp, but throughout the last like during this pandemic, like they’ve just been here and we’ve had some private sessions. You know because we couldn’t have over so many people in the room at a time for a long time and uh, so it was really hard because we, our gym, is fairly. We it’s growing and it’s getting bigger and it’s a bit. It’S really a jiu jitsu-based gym but like, like you, said, they’ve been shutting those down, so you know we haven’t been doing jiu-jitsu. You know, we’ve been doing we’ve been doing. You know bag work, mitt, work stuff like that, trying to do everything and um, and now we’ve been able to get some get some sparring going and everything. So it’s actually helped me a lot from a fight and uh. We got five guys from the our gym. Actually, fighting on this one, it’s pretty cool to have that many guys fighting on your the same card as you. So that’s about the gist of the um, the pandemic, with the training and whatnot i’ve actually uh, my girl cleaned out my garage and hung up the bag, and just we have weights in there stretching machines treadmill and, like i’ve, been at home doing this and that And i mean it’s all different: it’s just a new way. I guess – and i hope it i hope it changes soon. You said: there’s five guys fighting on that same card, all from your gym. Does it feel weird like does it feel, like almost you’re all obligated to win like if one of you loses it almost feels like a lot i mean um. I was all just sitting there, the other night, because i mean there’s every pretty much every guy from the gym right now. Like me, this is you know this is my. I think this is my third set third fight out of the gym. This is my third fight but, like i said, we’re a growing gym and we’re really at the jiu jitsu based gym, so there hasn’t been a whole whole lot of fighters. But like we’ve been, you know, just people just been coming from here and there and we’re starting to get really good recruits. Uh, you know of the five people. Two of them were going to like shoot it off from the get-go here in chattanooga in september. Like two of them and their and their brothers and that they’re, both muay thai kickboxing bouts, so uh watching them, you know when you watch them. You know you’re in there i get, but i get more nervous watching my teammates and friends. Fight than i do did not do myself, because i have absolutely no control over it. I just i don’t know but yeah yeah. If my team’s 4-0, by the time i come up to fight, definitely there’s going to be some more pressure for me to take for me to take that strap home likes. Definitely you’re you’re headlining the uh the card does it feel any different than any other fights. Knowing that i mean your last fight of the night, it’s an extra two rounds does it feel any different. It’S the training camp has been a whole lot. Different there’s been a lot more uh. I’Ve had a lot more help throughout the duration of this camp. There’S a lot more people involved, and i think just due to the the way the nature is of society is right. Now, like there’s nothing really going on so uh in chattanooga, like you have knoxville coming to chattanooga, you have every bunch of place. People coming from all around, but when they’re meeting there like there’s gon na be a lot of people and it really sucks because, like the attendance has been cut down to 900, but i i mean i’m trying to think right now, like we’ve got, i’m trying to Think we, what was your original question? I’M sorry trying to think of what we is there any added pressure, knowing that it is a main event. Knowing that there’s a title on the line and that there’s an extra two rounds, i was thinking i mean like going back to the fight i had in march with charlie, i felt like there was a lot more a lot more pressure with that fight up until, Like this last two weeks now that it’s starting to sink in it, actually, it actually is sinking in, like hey man. This is a five-round fight. You’Ve never been five rounds, and you i mean i turned up the training for this fight um. Judging me off in my last fight, you, wouldn’t you wouldn’t think i’d be able to go five rounds. I don’t know if you got a chance to watch me and brian jackson fought but uh. I think, with the with with that win, though, is i mean it was? I finished him in the second round, but we, you know, i think i’ve been kind of uh picked out of the bunch with jason king and uh for the 170, i’m 3-0 and he’s you know, he’s he’s a he’s. A decorated fighter he’s got he’s been been to bellator he’s done. This he’s done that so as far as the uh, the level of like pressure for this fight, it’s uh it’s about the same as it was the last fight as it was the time before, because i mean the pressure’s all the same, whether i mean now being At home is a little different being at home is a little different like if i’m up in knoxville, and it’s up at the you know up in knoxville or nashville or anywhere else for that matter. You know atlanta anywhere alabama anywhere in the south region. You know in the southeast region, uh i don’t i don’t. I don’t know. I have a really huge problem fighting away but like when everybody’s at home i come in and you know if i’m the last father, not you know you’re there for five hours and you talk to a lot of people who are really close to you and uh. You know you just got ta it’s hard to stay focused. It is harder to stay focused when you’re at home yeah. You just got ta kind of push it all away for a little bit and uh. I’M grateful to have my girlfriend she’s actually been helping me sell tickets and do everything for this fight. Like it’s the first time, i’ve actually had somebody take charge and actually put an effort into helping me do something other than um. You know do so all the things that i have to do outside the fight she’s been helping me with that, and i’d really appreciate her yeah. I hear that a lot from other fighters like they always say. You know that hometown advantage sometimes isn’t an advantage in mma. You’Ve got people talking to you, people are asking you for tickets, people are talking to you non-stop from your family yeah and you can’t seem to to get focused. So i understand that uh 100 and you hear it from from so many other fighters. So so hopefully things will go well. What sort of fight week preparations do you do you have and how do you like get in the zone? For the fight i mean i’m just i still haven’t i’ve yet to even grasp uh like a rooney, routine ritual fight. Week thing i just usually like i just i’m, usually really far overweight for every fight come monday and i’m like, oh my god, i’m still 16 pounds over. I thought i would be with at least within 10 by now and uh. So so, right now i’ve been trying to like actually being that it’s a five round five. I know that, like i need to conserve, and i need i needed to eat right for this for this camp. I needed to do the right things, because this is a big fight and uh. This is a lot of implications on this fight, and i understand that so i really uh have been eating, run. I’Ve been i’ve, been training and running and taking it serious being the hometown. Guy, though, like it is, it is stressful and i’m glad i do have i’ve got a bigger support team. Now that i’ve moved i’ve actually joined the agm i was a. I was unattached, for you know my first six, my only six amateur fights and then my first pro fight is when uh is when i started to go to the gym at gogi, and that’s just a good group of guys and i really enjoyed them. So they ended up winning me over and i really loved that place and i hope it helped them grow. You know right down here again, though, going back to that hometown situation. Man, it’s a lot more pressure than, and it is it’s not always the you know. You’Re always always a hometown favorite, because there’s a lot of pr, there is a lot of pressure. One of the uh valor is one of the organizations right now. That’S pumping out the most amount of fights you’ve spent your majority, the majority of your career there. What’S your thoughts on them as an organization as a whole, uh valor, they’ve, they’ve produced they keep producing uh yeah a tremendous amount of fighters they give. They give. You know young men and young women a chance uh. You know on on the every levels. You know they have the amateurs there and, like tim lloyd’s, the matchmaker there and he isn’t going to like you know he take. He listens to everybody, he’s not going to match a you know an amateur with an uneven amateur. He usually gets uh some good ones out there, but uh. You know a lot of guys from knoxville. You say you’re coming out of the area and doing a lot. They fight a lot in knoxville and they’re trying to get more people in all the time. Right now, as far as valor goes, i really enjoy valor. I like valor, i like valerie, i like what they do. Uh they’re they have. They have this. They have this thing with cotton joe’s like a world famous cotton, i joke in knoxville and uh like security. There’S great, they actually threw a show in july and during like one of the first people to do want a show during the pandemic and uh did a fantastic job, and i mean like hats off to everybody that was at that show. That did like i mean so as far as valor goes. They had one show in august, got canceled right after the july show, which was something you know we did, but you can’t just have like fighters saying: hey guys, you’re gon na fight. You know august uh. You know fifth or whatever, what date have you and then they find out two days before weigh-ins that oh hey, we can’t fight now, because this that another thing happens, man, that’s a that’s pretty taxing because that’s the same thing that happened to me in march, but That’S happening to everybody right now, like all around the country and as far as like the pandemic goes um, i need we got to get back to normal, like it’s got to get back to normal. Absolutely so many small businesses are like going going under and, like you know, i mean taking valor they’re, cutting our attendance down from two thousand to nine hundred. You know they had to up the ticket prices and that’s not just us. That’S everywhere. You know. That’S everybody’s. Doing that and i mean whatever a lot of people being unemployed right now i mean it’s: it’s just it’s killer on the whole community, and you know facebook just sends something out there today actually saying how they’re going to start censoring what we talk about period on October 1st and i’m like what happened to freedom of speech and freedom of whatever and everything i don’t know, but it is, it is what it is. It’S a pandemic and extreme measures are going to be coming big big time soon. Another another organization that went and started pumping out events right after uh, really right in the middle of pandemic, was the ufc. Is that the ultimate dream here for you is to to make it to the ufc, make it to a bellator? Or is this just? You know something that you do on the side for fun or what is the ultimate goal? I just i mean like the only direction i’ve had in life is like towards just martial arts like if i’ve not been doing martial arts. I’Ve been in trouble in my life and that’s just that’s just the cold, hard facts. Unless you can look it up, if you want, but that’s what happens when i’m not staying busy working or if i don’t you know, if i’m you know, if you’re going to be a mill, if you’re hanging out with five millionaires, you know you’re going to eventually Be a millionaire if you start hanging out with a bunch of bums you’re going to become a bum, and you know i got home from college and you know didn’t didn’t, hang out with cool people right people and then i like, fell off for a little bit. Then i got back to the gym and realized hey. This is where i ought to be at and um just trying to set the right examples now and do the right things. You know just keep it and just keep that ball rolling the way it is. As far as bellator, the ufc goes uh, who who doesn’t want to uh, you know fight in the super bowl of mma. You know that you know that you know that’s that’s yeah, of course, yeah and you know contender series. It would be cool. You know just to you know, get that opportunity, and i mean that’s what i’m saying these title implications for you know: valor fights we’re speaking about them and as a whole, yeah they’re great, but talk about the last three people. That’S won a title for valor um. You know david robbins, uh he’s. He still holds the title right now: uh, but dahmer uh dahmer is like i don’t know, she’ll never fight. It was a no contest so, but both of those guys right there, ufc, caliber and uh. If i’m not mistaken, david uh david might have got a call not long ago for the for the canadian series, but he wouldn’t he couldn’t take it at the moment with work and what he’s got going on in life right now, so he had to. He had to put it off for a later date, but cody durden just got uh just got the call to ufc and uh fought chris coteries right and he uh they went. They ended up in a draw um before that. You know louise peanut, but kobe wall down in rome, georgia, for the uh for the lightweight strap and you know louise peanut, you know he’s been doing wonderful things. You know i mean he’s become huge, uh, so yeah. If you’re, if you’re holding the title – and i mean you – know gerald mercer – you know he fought and he fought in valor osp he’s right. There he’s one of the hearts down there in knoxville he’s there he’s at every fight, he’ll, probably be in the corner, with jason king, when we fight it’d be cool, you know getting a fight against osp, that’s awesome! Yeah i mean osp really has put uh put put that area on the map. I mean he’s uh. He i mean yeah he’s fought jon jones like it’s just it’s unbelievable, i’m a tennessee balls fan too. On top of that. So when he was, you know, he’s a linebacker back here and i you know when he went to ufc. I was like all all osp man. I was happy for him when you um, when you get things done on september 12th. What sort of turnaround time i mean, i’m sure you want to just stay active now i mean the pandemics kind of slowed, your roll a little bit you had to take some time off. Everybody did. Are you trying to stay active to get some wins together to get noticed, or are you happy to just kind of take your time and an easier way there? I’M not looking past jason king at this point right now. That’S you know, first and foremost, but if we’re going to be, you know for 4c in the future, i mean like if you look into future fights with valor right now, there’s big names in it. There’S charlie alexander’s fighting judy browning coming up october 3rd um talks with him with me and jeannie browning fighting uh, possibly maybe uh, there’s just if you. If, if you’re, asking yeah that they’re fighting at 155 and being said, this pandemic is going by, i was training for charlie and i got down there. You know like i got down in the 70s and then after that you know, i started going and helping a buddy, and i do tree work for a little short of my time. I ended up losing a good bit of weight. Doing that and it was, it was kind of a good thing. You know, but then after i stopped working with and start training again i started getting that back and uh. You know my weight is getting down there. So uh you got, you got, you know you got david robins down there, you got a dahmer, you got there’s and he you know even even guys around here in chattanooga, bubba cruz 170.. I mean, if i’m in, if i’m to win something this strap. I mean bubba me and him go to the same gym and we train together all the time and we discussed the possibility man like because he’s after the same goal. I am who’s, not i mean the ufc or you know whatever we’ve talked about it, you know, but uh there’s a chance that i could be going back down and wait. Maybe i get that strap. Maybe maybe i defend it uh, but with covet around right now, who knows what could happen? I’Ve seen i’ve seen. People get calls right now that um that are uh, they’re, they’re, taking them and they’re. You know you’ve got to take them, but it’s just it’s rough too, because, like a lot of people can’t go train, they can’t do this. Can’T do that. So i feel like a lot of the in the ufc fights right now they don’t um you’re, not getting to see the absolute best fighter right there. You know, i’m not saying i mean like that that that fighter can be. You know i’m saying like that. May not be the best he’s not in shape he’s, not gon na be in shape. You know they talk about uh, max holloway, doing the zone workouts and a lot of people. A lot of them are doing the zoom workouts, but i just i find it so hard to believe anybody’s doing those um, i’m not i’m not yeah. I don’t know how you could prep for a fight through zoom like it just it doesn’t make much sense to me, but i mean he looked great. If that’s all he did, i mean he looked unbelievable yeah yeah i mean i’m, i’m not gon na look into him. I mean damn. You know this is a hindsight right now, i’m thinking it might be a good deal. I uh i kind of built this platform on two things. One is making match-ups dream, matchups um. That being said, is there anybody past current present retired? Doesn’T matter that you would look at and say you know what one day it would have been awesome to test. My skills against someone like that, yes uh, absolutely the one guy was and uh and i was never a hater of him. I was a huge fan uh as you arrive faber when i was in college, he would come out to california love and he had any. You know the cornrows and i was just and i was like 149 in college. I was a smaller guy, but, like i don’t know, i just i just enjoyed the way he fought and he fought just he fights you know just like i did, but that it was just trucking all the time and i just enjoyed watching him and i always Like i wanted to test my skills against you’re out of favor at an early age, when i was in college wrestling, i always thought that would have been really cool uh back then you know his prime, my problem. That would have been pretty neat to do and the other thing i built this platform on was making predictions. That being said, there was a huge title fight announced with jon jones moving up to heavyweight. That being said, dominic reyes and jan blehovich are fighting for the light heavyweight strap. I don’t know how up to date, you are how much you watch uh the light heavyweights go at it. But that being said, do you have a prediction for that fight: who’s, fighting yamblahovic and dominic reyes? I’M gon na take dominic reyes man. That is a monster right now i mean like that’s. Arguably he arguably lost that fight with jones and yeah nominee grey’s right there. I i’m a big fan of him right now. He’S he’s doing good things. I love it i’ll. Ask you one last question and then i’ll, let you go um for people who haven’t watched your fight. Is there one fighter that you can kind of compare your style to and uh if there’s one fight on your record that you’re, like that’s the fight that best uh showcases, who i am as a fighter which fight would it be probably have to be honestly? I have, i was five and one as an amateur, i’m three and i was a pro and i hate. I hate it, but this is my one loss um, my one loss. I you know, that’s the only one loss i have where i’ve entered out of valor, where we talked about earlier. Most of my career’s been there when i went to afc and i fought a guy, and i learned a lot about myself that night, because i was 5-0 going into somebody else’s backyard. He was one and two. This is a fight that i had known about. Eight months in advance – and i took in two fights previous to that or i knew about the fight – and i took two fights before that thinking – you know just i wasn’t, you know two fights and then me and him fought and uh it was a. It was a i ended up. I didn’t really train for it because he was i just and – and i learned a lot about myself that night, but the heart – and you know i was – i broke both hands in the first round and uh like the right off the rip broke both of them And uh couldn’t use them, so i basically just kind of tried to wrestle and was a punching bag for about four rounds, but uh i gained a lot of um uh. I guess fans that night down there in alabama because a lot of people they know that, because you know his name was trevor peake so well when he won, though everybody you know was expecting me to win at the beginning. I was, i was winning and then i broke my hands and that’s not an excuse, but he ended up ended up getting the tko in the fourth round and because i didn’t even know it was five rounds. I thought it was three rounds. Amateur five. I didn’t even know they called my name going out there and i was like well okay, but uh that fight and then my last professional fight when i fought brian jackson, it’s just like i think like i’m just i got a lot of heart. I got a lot of will uh and uh. You know i thought brown. He had an eight inch read his reach advantage. Every time i felt like i was trying to touch him. He was touching me first and he was and if i just knew once i could go and get my shot it’s you know i’ll come out, but i don’t know they. I’M not i’m not proud of it or nothing. But they said uh years ago, when i was fighting, i thought uh. I think i spotted 55 and they said they said you kind of look like a a lightweight fedora and uh my bodybuilding. The way i look like just like stalky – and just i don’t know, i’m built weird, so it’s that wrestler build and uh but uh. He said, that’s what i look like, but i don’t like to claim that, but it’s kind of funny that is kind of what i look like when i fight you know. I look for that power shot and you know – and i do have i i’m a wrestler uh you know, for i don’t know, i don’t really have a comparison. I mean i don’t know even on typology, i don’t have a nickname or nothing and i’m the only greg hopkins on there. If you wanted to look me up so uh speaking of looking me up, people probably ought to because i’m sure after this fight i’ll probably have a lot of targets on my back and i’m sure of it. I love that. I love that way to end it. Man um, if you could uh, add a nickname to your tapology page. What would it be? I’M a degenerate uh, all the time i like gamble and play and goof around i’m a clown. I like to have fun so the people i’ve been around have given me. So many great ideas – they’re, not they’re too vulgar and too awful and they’re. Some of them aren’t even funny and uh, but some of them been really good. But – and i can’t even remember half of them – and i know i just built this all up, but no hell – i don’t have any nicknames and i’m – and i just was just because like – and i was just thinking – maybe the degenerate, but i don’t. I don’t really like that either so i’ll probably pick one up in another, i mean i’ve. Never i mean somebody’s got to give me the nickname. I don’t i don’t want to give it. I don’t want to have it. I want somebody to give me one before long all right, man well uh all the best thanks for uh, thanks for coming on. I know it’s late, so i i appreciate you taking the time and all the best man i’m rooting for you. Well, let me uh. I appreciate that i’m gon na get a give a give a shout out to a couple of my sponsors here, real quick and let know let people know where they can find me. You can find me on facebook, greg hopkins uh, find me on uh instagram, big, daddy, hop and uh uh. That’S that’s all you need for that. I don’t have a twitter, yet uh, but i wan na give a quick shout out to some people who have been helping me out throughout this. I’Ve got all my friends and family at agogi, my personal family, my girlfriend she’s been taking care of everything selling tickets and i just cannot like that’s. It’S helped me so much the first time. Having somebody help me doing this. It’S awesome it’s coming off, but sponsors man, memphis uh, memphis street barbecue man and i, like i, it’s hard not to eat there, man, because it’s so delicious. You know when i go there, i go there when i’m not training there. I go. This guy helps me in this big paw, absolute gutters, best home builders, crawl logic, uh, csu sauna. I actually went there today, yeah there’s just like infrared race on it. It just it rejuvenates. You i’ve got r3 rejuvenation, they freeze me and they they just all that lack of gas that comes and flushes out of your your blood and everything it’s pretty sweet, arthur rejuvenation. I appreciate them. Uh, my biggest sponsor hemp house dude, they uh they actually they’ve got them on there, they’ve been above and beyond uh, helping me out man with like cbd, oils and stuff, and just helping me just like i’m talking, i’m telling you i’ve had a lot of help Throughout this this whole generation, it’s awesome uh ink expressions um that tattoo parlor and easter edge right down the road from where they’ve been it’s hell, dude, they’re, uh, they’re, actually sponsoring the event to them and hint pals both are going to be there. So a lot of more pressure there for all of us and uh uh, one more is jbi investments, and i told you i’m a degenerate, but these guys uh this. They did deal with a lot of stalks, you know and uh, and – and they do a lot of the analysis for sports and mma is one of them, and i talk with them on a daily basis about how we’re going to make money this week and how We need to do this and how we do that, but uh, just a big shout out to all those people who have helped me financially and then all the people have helped me physically at the gym, mentally at the gym, emotionally at the gym and uh. My girlfriend megan for picking up the loose ends at the you know, walking behind me. Picking up my my jock strap pulling my cup out. You know doing this doing that, helping me here, uh, mom and dad everybody um. If i miss somebody, i apologize and uh uh you too brother for giving me the platform to do this interview right here. Valor uh, you know, valor fights, uh, fighting, challenge, uh eric uh eric and tim dude. Thank you guys. I also did the commentary up there at valor, so you get to you, get to hear this nasty voice. Uh you get to hear this nasty voice every you know, first friday of every month at very cotton joe, so it’s pretty cool up there being in that with everybody, but man. I do appreciate everything and uh yeah, hopefully i’ll have that strap by then you know september 12th we’ll get it. I love it man. These sponsors really do go a long way, especially for people on the regional scene or on these up and coming uh uh fight cards. Uh sponsors play a huge part into mma. It’S not like any other sport where you know, there’s a process without spot without sponsors. Without the proper coaches uh, you know some people will never get these opportunities so very important to make sure we get those uh shout outs in there as well and all the best man i uh, i’m looking forward to your fight and uh and september 12th. I can’t wait to see what you can do all right man. I appreciate you brother, all right man, all the best i’ll see

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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