Following a seven-fight winning streak, Lopez went on to lose nine of his next twelve bouts and both his titles before finally turning things around this year with back-to-back wins.
“I thought maybe that was it and it was the end of my career, but in 2015 I decided to give it one last run and I started to train better and do all these things I should have been doing back in the day,” Lopez told MMAWeekly.com.
“The first fight was a test to see if I still got it and can perform, and I got the win and it boosted my confidence up. The second fight was a heavyweight title fight and I figured if I beat him that I’m on the right track, and I ended up submitting him in the second round.”
Lopez admittedly got complacent and it took him to the lowest point he could have wanted before finally righting the ship with a change in his outlook towards fighting.
“I got to the point where I didn’t want to train or do anything,” he said. “I just went in there to just basically pick up a paycheck. I’m looking at it now like I’m not only picking up a paycheck, but I’m picking up a win, picking up all the credit and everything that comes with it.
“I look back on my career and I see where I excelled, where I went wrong and all that. I’m trying to keep it positive and stay focused and keep on winning.”
Lopez (36-17) will look to keep his winning streak going on Saturday in Hinton, Okla., against one of MMA’s all-time greats in Jeremy Horn (91-21-5) at SCS 25.
“Jeremy is a tough guy and I’m not underestimating anything on him,” said Lopez. “I’m giving him all the credit he deserves. I’ve been focusing on the things I do and have worked on the things he does to make sure I don’t get caught in anything.
“I’ve got to come out, be aggressive the whole time, and if I do that, it won’t go past the second round. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
Lopez is hoping a win over Horn will help others see he’s still a viable fighter and that his last run in the sport can be a prosperous one.
“With me, coming back, a win will say that I’m not finished and that I’ve got another run at it,” said Lopez. “I’m going to do it right this time and not take it for granted. It is a positive outcome with me winning.
“I feel like this is my last chance to do anything positive and end on a good note. I’m trying to enjoy every minute of it and get everything I can out of it.”
(Photo courtesy of MTV)