Zac Cooper is Straight Blast Gym Atlanta's Martial Arts Student of the Month for April 2022
Straight Blast Gym's Zac Cooper is a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter who is getting ready to make his return to the cage in late April.
Zac Cooper has been a part of Straight Blast Gym for a decade, first getting involved with martial arts at SBG Athens with former UFC fighter Rory Singer and his brother Adam Singer. While attending the University of Georgia as a full-time student, Zac found his way to Straight Blast Gym Athens, run by former UFC fighter Rory Singer and his brother Adam. There, Zac began what would begin what became a very successful amateur mixed martial arts career, regularly competing in mixed martial arts competitions all over the southeast. Before long, Zac was approved by the Georgia Athletic Commission to go pro.
After years of regularly competing in the cage, Zac decided to take break from mixed martial arts after a contest that was held in the summer of 2018. Shortly after that bout, he began contemplating what he wanted to do for his career and decided that he wanted to be a firefighter. He began training at the Fire/EMT Academy in January of 2021 and graduated in October. He now serves as a fireman for Hall County.
Becoming a firefighter wasn't the only big life move for Zac in 2021 as last fall he proposed to his girlfriend Casey, and they are set to be married this September.
Despite having a busy and physically demanding schedule, Zac stayed involved with martial arts and the local fight scene. While training to be an EMT and firefighter he still made time to attend Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai classes at Straight Blast Gym Buford a couple of times per week. On top of that, he and Straight Blast Gym Atlanta co-owner Jim Sheppard would regularly cover and commentate for Atlanta's National Fighting Championship.
Jim Sheppard had this to say about Zac:
"Zac has a passion for mixed martial arts that is nearly unmatched. He's a student of the game and is constantly studying film and practicing new techniques. On the mats, he's one of my favorite training partners because he's not only really good but very technical and safe. We've had dozens and dozens of sparring rounds and I've never once left those training sessions hurt or banged up."
Towards the end of 2021, Zac began training in Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA at a more full-time pace after having to back off some when he was in fire/EMT school. Between the time he was putting in on the mats and the skills that he had acquired over the past decade, Straight Blast Gym Atlanta's Head Martial Arts Coach Phil Gentry decided that Zac was ready to receive his brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Riding the wave of momentum that he was receiving from spending so much time training at SBG Buford and SBG Atlanta, Zac decided that it was time to make his much-anticipated return to the cage and accepted a mixed martial arts fight for the National Fighting Championship on April 30th. Zac has already begun picking up his training schedule and is fully committed to bringing his best skills and effort to the cage at the end of the month.