(image courtesy of K-1)

It wasn’t long ago that many believed the kickboxing juggernaut promotion K-1 was never going to be seen again.

Through a backlog of financial struggles, K-1's issues were out in the open for everyone to see, and solutions didn’t seem very viable.

Just months later however, K-1 is back and putting the finishing touches on their upcoming Grand Prix tournament closing out in Japan in late 2012, but not before the American’s crown their champion on Sept 8 in Los Angeles.

With a field of names like ‘Mighty’ Mo and legends such as Rick Roufus being involved, the K-1 Rising U.S. Grand Prix will send one heavyweight to Japan to compete for the ultimate Grand Prix title later this year.

Multi-time K-1 veteran Dewey Cooper is another name in the field of hopefuls, and while this isn’t his first go round on the grandest stage in all of kickboxing, even he admits there’s still something very special about it.

“Being a part of this whole K-1 company is and being selected to be in the tournament is a huge honor, because K-1 only searches for the greatest stand-up strikers in the entire world. You must realize this is a global thing, this isn’t a one country thing. It’s always an honor to be a part of it, and from a fighter’s perspective it’s always an honor to do battle with some of the best fighters on this entire planet,” Cooper told MMAWeekly Radio.

“It’s the Super Bowl of stand-up striking so I cannot wait until September.”

Cooper has consistently faced some of the toughest fighters in the kickboxing world, and hopes that his experience will play a factor in a tournament mixed with veterans and newcomers.

With the potential to face three fighters in one night, Cooper is used to the physical and mental anguish that goes along with a K-1 tournament, and he says if you’re not ready for that you’ll be broken early in that night.
“First of all you have to have a passion for pain. Because in a lot of the striking arts, especially in high level kickboxing, high level Muay Thai, there’s going to be a lot of pain involved. The banging of the shins, the bone on bone, the real knee techniques, the real powerful kicks and hand combinations. There’s definitely a lot of pain involved,” Cooper stated.

“Win lose or draw, everybody walks out with different kinds of injuries, but remember that’s part of the mystique of K-1.”

The tournament still has one more name to add to the field that will eventually total out at eight heavyweights vying for the chance to compete in the K-1 Grand Prix final later this year.

For Cooper’s part, he doesn’t care what name he gets first or what draw he receives in the tournament. He’s hoping three fighters will stand and three fighters will fall and he’ll win the K-1 U.S. Grand Prix.

“No matter who we match up with that night it’s going to be a tough fight and you have to be prepared to fight your best fight on that night,” said Cooper. “That’s the thing about K-1, there are no bums fighting great guys, it’s great guys fighting great guys. We’ll see who reigns supreme on Sept 8.”

Tickets for the K-1 U.S. Grand Prix are on sale now through Ticketmaster or at the LA Sports Arena box office.

Follow @DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon Martin.
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