Greg Hopkins looking to earn a shot on Contender Series with a win at Valor FC 73

Greg Hopkins address a VFC crowd after a TKO victory. Credit: VFC

Valor Fighting Challenge (VFC) has provided MMA with some fan-friendly action over the past several months, rivaling the larger, more well-known promotions Bellator and UFC in terms of activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization has proven itself to be a veritable stomping grounds for the best up and comers from the southeastern United States.

Headlining their September 12 card is undefeated prospect Greg Hopkins (3-0), who looks to capture the VFC welterweight title against Jason King (8-6).

At 32 years of age, Hopkins will be looking to string together a few victories to capture the attention of the likes of promotional giants UFC and Bellator.

With only three professional bouts to his name, it is easy to overlook Hopkins’ talents, but he holds a 5-1 record as an amateur, too. All of his amateur wins ended by stoppage, to boot. On top of his finishing ability, Hopkins was a multiple-time state champion wrestler in his home state of Georgia from 2004 and 2006.

Hopkins is coming off of a second-round finish over fellow Valor veteran Brian Jackson in what would be his third straight finish as a professional. A high-level wrestler with finishing ability is a match made in heaven for many promoters and a showdown with the most experienced opponent he has faced to date in King can push him one step further to his dream.

King, 31, holds a gritty 8-6 record and enters this contest after losing to kickboxing legend Raymond Daniels (2-1) in an MMA bout at Bellator 238. A finisher in his own right, all but one of King’s victories have come in the first round.

Between the two welterweight title challengers, they have only seen a decision one time. This fight has all the makings of a high-paced, fan-friendly affair that will not likely see championship rounds.

With a convincing win, Hopkins would cement himself as one of the brightest welterweight prospects in the southeastern United States. Given the opportunities that are being handed out right now amid the demand for fighters due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it could cement him one step closer to his UFC goal.

In an interview with MMA-Prospects, Hopkins detailed his fight camp preparations and talks about the added pressure knowing he has four teammates on the card.

On fight night, Hopkins will compete alongside four teammates, all of whom will also be fighting on the card. When asked if he feels any added pressure given that he is closing out the show for his team, Hopkins said that while his fight is the one he’s least worried about, a potential gym-wide sweep was tempting.

“I get more nervous watching my friends and teammates fight than I do myself because I have no control over it,” Hopkins told MMA-Prospects. “If my team is 4-0 by the time I come out to fight, there will definitely be more pressure to bring the strap home.”

Hopkins says that unlike his past fights, this camp has been his best yet.

“The training camp has been a whole lot different. I’ve had a whole lot more fight throughout the duration of this camp. There are a lot more people involved,” Hopkins said. “[But] as far as the level of pressure, it feels the same as last fight and the fight before that. It doesn’t feel any different.

“After this fight, people ought to look me up because I’m sure I’ll have a lot of targets on my back.”

For fans of yet unfamiliar with Hopkins, the former lightweight fighter provides a rather surprising MMA doppelganger – a heavyweight icon.

“I’m not proud of it, but [a teammate] told me years ago when I was fighting ’55, you kind of look of a lightweight Fedor [Emelianenko]. My body build and the way I look – I’m stocky and built weird… He said that’s what I look like. I’m not proud of it, [but] is kind of funny because it is what I look like when I fight.

“I look for that power shot and I’m a wrestler. I’ve got a lot of heart. I’ve got a lot of will.”

Greg Hopkins will look to put his heart and will to the test at VFC 73 on September 12, when he fights Jason King for the welterweight title.