Diego Lopes remains one of the best kept secrets in MMA. At only 26 years old, he has a professional record of 19-4 and has wins over former UFC fighters as well as the current LUX bantamweight champion.
With all these accolades, as well as notably acting as Irene Aldana and Alexa Grasso’s BJJ coach, what is keeping Lopes out of the UFC?
Short answer, his DWCS loss to Joanderson Brito earlier this season.
“I don’t feel that the defeat affected me,” Lopes said. “I am a fighter who takes advantage of everything. I know that I had many mistakes in this last fight, but I am not going to make mistakes again. I think that with a full camp I can show what I am capable of.”
It’s hard not to take him serious when he says he has learned from his loss and will bounce back fully. The only concern when skimming his record is that out of all 19 wins, nine of them have come by way of submission.
Can Lopes be equalized by opponents keeping him on the feet?
“I think that over the years I have improved my striking a lot,” he explained. “I know that Nate Richardson is a high-level striker, but I train with the best striking coach, Francisco Grasso. I feel ready to exchange with whoever.”
Aside from coming off a loss, something Lopes hasn’t done much of in his career, another adjustment Lopes is forced to make is location.
It will be the first time he has fought consecutively in the United States, but if you ask Lopes, it’s not a problem, it’s a dream come true. It’s all coming together nicely for him and when it’s time to fight in the U.S. full-time, he’ll be ready for that, as well.
“I want to arrive in UFC for my work and effort and not because I have colleagues who are in the UFC,” Lopes explained. “I don't want people to say that I am only there for them. I want people to look at me and say, ‘Look at that boy. He has been working for years to get where he is now.’"
Should Lopes leave Houston with the Fury FC featherweight belt on October 17, it’d be hard to imagine that his DWCS loss could keep him out of the UFC any longer. While nothing is guaranteed, going from LUX featherweight champion to DWCS loss to Fury FC featherweight champion in nine months is hard to deny.
There’s one thing you can’t say about Diego Lopes and it’s that he hasn’t worked hard to get where he is now. It shouldn’t be much longer before he is making that first UFC walk.
Catch the return of Diego Lopes at Fury FC 52 LIVE Sunday, October 17 ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!