Matthew Lopez recently earned his first victory under the UFC banner when he defeated Mitch Gagnon by unanimous decision at UFC 206, but now the fighter wants some revenge on the man who defeated him in his UFC debut -- Rani Yahya.
“Some people think there’s no real like, ‘Being here the first time in the octagon,’” Lopez said to MMA Junkie. “It’s real. I went out there and I saw the UFC name on top of that little ring and it was still a prelim and there were still 5,000 people out there. And believe it or not, it gets to you. Whether it’s subconscious or not, it gets to you. And by the second round I was tired, so – you can mark my words: I’ll see Rani Yahya again.”
Lopez had to rally back to defeat Gagnon on the Fox Sports 1 portion of the preliminary card at UFC 206, especially after Gagnon nearly finished the fighter with strikes in the opening round of their fight.
“It wasn’t scary at all, actually,” Lopez said. “I felt like I was winning the round, and then I got dropped and I kind of went into autopilot. But it wasn’t scary because I was just fighting. That’s what I do. That’s what my training partners, my coaches – I just fought. (I) got through the round because I have the heart of a champion. I don’t think anybody in this damn planet can take my heart away from me. So when push comes to shove, I’m going to get back out there and fight.”
Yahya recently defeated Michinori Tanaka by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 95, his next opponent has yet to be announced.