Xtreme Couture’s Gustavo Lopez returns to action this weekend, looking to unify the Oktagon MMA bantamweight title.
Lopez (13-6-1), a UFC veteran, picked up the promotion’s interim 135lb title in his last fight, submitting Filip Macek inside of a round. Fighting for a title right out of the gate was exactly the sort of opportunity Lopez was looking for — and expecting, he told Cageside Press in a recent interview.
“Absolutely. I’m one of the best in the world. The fact that I was able to take that fight on a 10-day notice just shows how ready I am,” Lopez stated. “Felipe is no joke. He’s a number one contender out there. We went over a bunch of his stuff, and he’s been going out there, running through people. The fact that I was able to do what I did just shows the caliber that I am.”
“For as good as Felipe is, he’s a great ground fighter— it shows what level I am.”
Having defeated Macek, Lopez now has his sights set on Jonas Magard, Oktagon’s bantamweight champ since his own win against Filip Macek in 2021. Denmark’s Magard has been vocal online ahead of the match-up, but Lopez has not been paying him any mind.
“Not at all. I noticed that he sent me a message on Instagram. I read first one. Then he was like, saying something about this is gonna be a bad fight, it’s gonna be to the death; I liked it. I put a little heart on it, hey cool,” Lopez recalled. “And then he said something in some other language, and I laughed at it. After that, I moved him over to the pile of people that I just don’t want to talk to. And he’s been left on unread. Anything that he puts out there, I’m not even paying attention to it, because it doesn’t matter.”
Lopez questions what exactly the point of all that trash talk is, given the pair is destined to fight regardless.
“Is he trying to hype himself up? Does he think he’s not ready? What does he think all this trash talk is going to do? Because at the end of the day, we’re going to be locked up in the cage, and all the talk is going to be done. We’re going to fight, and we’re going to get it over with. That’s it.”
As to his own approach, Lopez noted that “For me, I go out there, I handle my business, and then I go home. And I continue the amazing fight that I have.”
Talk aside, Gustavo Lopez is facing a world champion this weekend — but he does not see any particular areas of concern or strengths when it comes to Magard.
“No. Nothing. He’s a f*cking D version of the kind of person that I am. He has good striking, he has some ground. There’s nothing about him that’s like, ‘oh wow, you’ve gotta watch out for his power, you’ve gotta watch out for his speed, you’ve gotta watch out for his ground.’ There’s nothing I need to watch out for,” Lopez exclaimed. “He’s another fighter, tough dude, but has he been with tougher opponents, has he been in deep waters, has he fought people at my caliber? Has he fought anyone that could push him? I’m a different breed. I go out there and I demolish people. I make people not want to fight, I break people. I drown these people so bad that they don’t want to fight again.”
Lopez should know a thing or two about competition: his two losses in the UFC came against Merab Dvalishvili and Adrian Yanez, top bantamweights these days. He holds a win inside the octagon against Anthony Birchak, and fought to a draw in his final bout in the company, opposite Alateng Heili.
With that it mind, it seems a bit surprising the UFC didn’t keep him around, given the murderer’s row he faced. Lopez revealed that, late last year, there remained the possibility of a UFC return. “It was crazy, because it was on the cusp. It was always like ‘hey be ready.’ I was supposed to fight in December, and then it just didn’t happen,” Lopez revealed. “The promotion does crazy things, the promotion does whatever it wants, but things just worked out the way they’re supposed to I guess.”
Lopez, however, is simply looking ahead. “I’m just grateful to have these kind of opportunities.”
Watch our full interview with Oktagon 41’s Gustavo Lopez above.