NEW YORK – Diego Lopes continues to capitalize on big opportunities.
But could a main event matchup against ranked opposition be next following Saturday’s 90-second knockout of Pat Sabatini at Madison Square Garden?
Lopes (22-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) thinks so – and he has a name in mind.
“Let’s see what the rankings are on Tuesday,” Lopes said at a UFC 295 post-fight news conference. “But I think if I’m ranked, I feel that fighting Bryce Mitchell would be a good fight. I think he’s somebody who’s been looking for a five-round fight, so why not have a main event? If the UFC wants it, I’ll be right there to fight him.”
Just three fights into his UFC tenure, Lopes has already made a name for himself. A surprisingly competitive short-notice debut vs. promotion-ranked Movsar Evloev in May didn’t go his way, though respect was gained.
Mitchell (16-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) is one of the few ranked featherweights who doesn’t have a fight booked or in the works. He most recently competed in September when he defeated Dan Ige by unanimous decision.
“I mean, I’d like to be as active as possible,” Lopes said. “Perhaps I’d fight at least three times in the year. But I have to look at coach because we’re five people there on the team. Everybody is just fighting all the time. We need to figure things out team-wise how much we’re fighting.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.