After his big win at UFC 303, what’s next for Diego Lopes?

MMA: UFC 303 - Ige vs Lopes
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 303, we saw a sensational matchup between two incredibly entertaining featherweight contenders. However, getting to the fight itself ended up being incredibly wild and something unlike anything else we’ve ever seen.

Diego Lopes (25-6) was set to take on “T-City” Brian Ortega (16-3) on Saturday night in the featherweight division. The night before the weigh-ins, Diego Lopes was on weight at 146 pounds. His team got a call in the middle of the night saying Ortega couldn’t make 145 and Lopes accepted the fight at 155 pounds.

Ortega ended up getting sick the day of the fight and the fight was going to be called off. However, with only four hours to go before the fight, Dan Ige (18-8) who lives just down the road from the arena, volunteered his services. Lopes and him agreed to a catchweight fight on just four hours’ notice and the fight was on.

Both men were in good shape and Lopes came out firing in the first round with his typical blitzes. Ige ate some shots, but he took them well. In the second round, Lopes was able to secure a dominant position and controlled the grappling to go up 2-0. However, in the third round, Lopes hit a wall in terms of his cardio.

Ige started taking over blasting him with big shots on the feet before they ended up on the ground. Once there, Ige blasted Lopes with big shots really until the final bell sounded. It was a masterful display of heart from both men and while nobody lost in the eyes of the public, Diego Lopes got the decision win at UFC 303.

What’s next after UFC 303?

Some fighters claim to be about that life, but Diego Lopes really is. He’s set to take on a top three featherweight and is asked the morning of weigh-ins to fight him up a weight class at 155. Without hesitation, he accepts the fight. Then, he’s asked to fight a new opponent with a completely different style on four hours’ notice. Again, he accepts without hesitation. It’s easy to see why the UFC loves him so much.

So, what’s next for him? What’s next is a fight at The Sphere at Noche UFC in September. That’s what Lopes wants and the promotion has already said they’re going to give him that opportunity. Now, it’s just a matter of the opponent. Movsar Evloev has expressed interest in rematching Lopes at the card. Lopes also said he’d love to fight Alexander Volkanovski on the card.

Aljamain Sterling could also be a name to watch, but if you’re asking me, I love the idea of Lopes fighting Yair Rodriguez. On the Noche UFC card, I don’t think you could get much better than the two top Mexican featherweights battling it out in The Sphere.

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