The line dividing the amateur and professional portion of Dragon House 29 on July 21, 2018 ends when Ricky Lopez (3-0) and Ulysses Molina (2-0), a pair of undefeated prospects in the developmental phase of their careers, clash in the heart of San Francisco’s Kezar Pavilion.
Leading into the highly-anticipated regional card, Lopez, who represents FightKore MMA & Fitness in Martinez, trekked through the hustle and bustle of the city to discuss his upcoming flyweight affair—along with other key elements, both in and outside of the cage, influencing his growth as a mixed martial artist—against Molina in a pre-fight interview (link here) with Zhong Lou, the owner of what was voted NorCal MMA’s 2017 Promotion of the Year.
“I’m Ricky Lopez. I’m nineteen-years-old. I train out of Fightkore International. I started training out of there when I was about fifteen. I started wrestling in high school, and they brought me under their wing and have taken care of me ever since. I’ve got a good team around me. I live in Martinez. I live about five-minutes away from the gym, so that’s real convenient. I’m able to train as much as I can. I’m excited for this one.”
A New Father
“I just found out that I’m going to be a father, coming up in October of 2018, so that’s exciting, too. I’ve got a lot going on right now, but I’m focused on this one; I’m excited.”
MMA as a Career
“That’s been my goal since I got started with this. I want to be one of the best in the world; that’s my goal. I want to be the best. I’m only 19 right now, and a lot of people might knock me and look at my fights and say, ‘You have a long way to go.’ And I do. I’m still learning every fight, and I’m getting better every day.”
“I work with Travis Wilkins on my boxing. He’s kind of an OG. He was an amateur boxer. He actually broke his hand and needed surgery before he made his pro debut. But he’s an OG. He’s 56-years-old and still in the gym. He’s got an eight-pack, and he’s hands-on with me, working with me. I’m blessed to have him as my coach.”
Is Bantamweight Your Weight?
“I think right now as an amateur I’ll stay at 135. Once I turn pro, get a nutritionist, get my diet right, I’ll get down to 125. I’m about 5’8”, so I think at 125 nobody would be able to stop me. I’m going to be stronger and lankier and be able to use my reach.”
Ulysses Molina As An Opponent
“I’ve watched his fights, and he’s very good, but I wasn’t too impressed with his opponents. I thought he could have done a lot better. I think he was kind of losing the fight until they stopped it. It was a little bit of an early stoppage to be honest with you because it looked the guy was getting out of it and moving to a single leg. But he is a very game opponent. This is one that gets you out of bed in the morning. I’m definitely excited for this. He’s trying to make a name for himself, and I’m going to take that away from him.”
“I think everyone knows how it’s going to go if you watch our fights. We’re going to stand, and we’re going to bang. If you watch our fights, you know, and I’m excited for that. I think I have the edge on him.”
Who Would You Like First at Flyweight?
“I’m not turning pro on this card, but we’re hoping to later this year or early next year. I have one name in mind: Brian Wilkinson, “The Dread Pirate.” He’s out of Pac [Pacific] Rings in Oakland. I think he has about six fights right now. I think I got his number, so I’m hoping to make my debut against him. But we’ll see. When that time comes, I’ll sit down with my coaches and see what we can do. But I’m focused on this fight ahead; Ulysses Molina is a good fighter, and I’m not looking past this one.”
Do You Go the Distance With Ulysses Molina?
“I want to get the finish. I think I’m due for a finish. My last couple fights have been decisions; I think I’m due for a finish, and he’s finished both his fights. I want to get the finish. If it goes decision, I’ll take it.”
“What we do: we do road work and a very intense circuit. What I’ve been doing lately is starting off with a run; we do about a three mile run, and then, we do a 45-minute circuit. It’s 45-seconds on and 30-seconds off. He’s just keeping you moving. The more you’re moving, the better shape your body will be in, especially in MMA where, eventually, you’ll be fighting five rounds. That’s what we’re working on: keep it moving, keep it moving and get used to pressing that limit.
“The twenty-four hours does help a lot. When you do a weight cut, you have to be dehydrated at some point, so the twenty-four hours gives you just a little more time. Eery little bit helps a lot. My last fights were on same day weigh-ins, and it’s not that I didn’t really feel effective, but I could feel the effects. I think the twenty-four hours helps out.”
Final Words to Ulysses Molina
“I hope he’s training hard and I hope he comes ready. I know he’s game, but I hope he trains hard. I want to fight the best version of you on July 21st because I’m alway down for a challenge, and I’m ready for this.”
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