Interview with newly crowned Valor lightweight champion Adam ‘The Smiling Assassin’ Cook

After two years and 12 events staged across Tasmania, the Valor promotion set out to crown their inaugural lightweight champion with a four-man, one-night title tournament on June 14 in Launceston.

It’s hard to argue against the legitimacy of a champion who defeats two of the promotion’s top contenders in one night, and that’s exactly what 19 year-old Burnie native Adam ‘The Smiling Assassin’ Cook (4-1) did to capture the promotion’s lightweight strap at Valor 8, after eight gruelling, and crowd-pleasing rounds against Steven Maxwell and David Butt (play-by-play).

The Shen Academy product was kind enough to answer a few questions for Fight News Australia following the title win.

Fight News Australia: Hi Adam, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for Fight News Australia and congratulations on your title win. What have you been up to since becoming the Valor lightweight champion?

Adam Cook: Well the first priority was some rest and relaxation until I could walk properly 🙂 But since then just training pressure free and eating horribly 🙂

Fight News Australia: No doubt after going all out for eight rounds you were in need of some R&R, how did you pull up after the tournament, did you come out of it injury free?

Adam Cook: Unfortunately no I came out with multiple injuries and even went in there with some as well but my trainer taught me not to give away specifics.

Fight News Australia: Can you tell us a bit about your background in martial arts?

Adam Cook: Sure, it all started when I was getting bullied at school so my parents decided to get me into martial arts down at Shen Academy. Straight away I fell in love and new I found what I wanted to focus on and get good at 🙂

Fight News Australia: How often do you typically train and what do you enjoy doing outside the gym?

Adam Cook: I train every night throughout the week and run three times a week and then rest and recover on weekends. Outside of training I am a big gamer. I love shooting and RPG games and absolutely LOVE POKEMON 🙂 But I also love going spearfishing with my mates when the weather is good and spending quality time with my girlfriend.

Fight News Australia: Who are some of the guys you train with at the Shen Academy?

Adam Cook: There aren’t any big fighters that everyone knows that fight at Shen Academy but the head trainer is Oscar Harding, and some of my main training partners include Dean Symons, Dillan North, Ant Poke and Adam Evans who are all also great mates 🙂

Fight News Australia: How different was it preparing for the tournament to your past fights considering you didn’t know exactly who you would fight or how many rounds you would be in there for?

Adam Cook: It surprisingly wasn’t that different because I was going to fight the guys all the same, avoid the take down and stand and strike.

Fight News Australia: Was the plan to look for a quick finish in your opening bout against Steven Maxwell and how were you feeling after going the distance?

Adam Cook: Surprisingly no, the game plan was nearly the complete opposite. I was looking to stay back and stay calm and pick my shots, instead of rushing in and wasting energy.

Fight News Australia: You had six fights to sit out before fighting David Butt in the final, what do you do physically and mentally during that down time?

Adam Cook: First priority was to recover after the Maxwell fight and get a little energy back with some fruit and water. Then me and my corner sat down and talked about a game plan and what I need to do better this time around. Then we got pumped by hitting some pads and got ready for war 🙂

Fight News Australia: You caught David with body kicks on a number of occasions throughout the first few rounds of the final but he did well to recover and come back strong towards the end. What are your memories of the fight and were you convinced that you had it in the bag when it ended?

Adam Cook: My best memories of the fight came from every time the fight nearly got stopped, from either myself or David. We both had some close encounters and they were awesome but I’d say the highlight and the most memorable part of the fight was when I took David down in the 3rd round and transitioned to side mount and David held me down and said “gee you’re a tough bloke cookie” and I just replied “thank you sir”.

Fight News Australia: Valor has put on a heap of shows in Tasmania since their inception just over two years ago now, what sort of impact have they had on the local Tassie MMA scene?

Adam Cook: It’s not that Valor has made an impact on Tasmania MMA, it’s that Valor IS Tasmania MMA. It’s the only professional mixed martial arts event that the state has ever seen and it’s growing fast 🙂

Fight News Australia: The promotion recently announced plans to host shows in Brisbane, is traveling interstate something you want to be involved with?

Adam Cook: Travelling interstate is definitely something that ill be heavily involved with next year, and would love nothing more than to fight on Valor cards interstate if and where possible 🙂

Fight News Australia: Where can you see yourself in five years and whats next for The Smiling Assassin?

Adam Cook: In the next five years I hope to have made a big impact on the Australian fight scene, whether it be kickboxing or MMA. I hope to have another title in a different organization by then as well 🙂 But up next I’m just training hard for my first title defense 🙂

Fight News Australia: Thanks again for your time Adam, is there anyone you would like to thank?

Adam Cook: Thank you very much for this opportunity Mike and there are so many amazing people I need to thank including my trainer Oscar Harding, girlfriend Katie Wells, my friends/training partners that I previously mentioned, my family and also our little Shen family 🙂

Keep up to date with ‘The Smiling Assassin’ by liking his Facebook Page

* Images courtesy of Joshua Stebbings – Photographer Facebook Page

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