Starting out his pro career winless in his first three bouts had Colorado middleweight Vinnie Lopez wondering if he was making the right decision in life by pursing MMA.
Thankfully with the help of those around him, he was able to stay the course and has since won five fights in a row and has gotten an invitation to participate in Resurrection Fighting Alliance 7 this Friday in Denver, to be broadcast live on AXS TV.
“It was a dark place after I started off 0-3,” said Lopez. “I didn’t know if this life was for me or what it had in store. I had all these dreams of being a big, successful fighter, and starting off 0-3 just crushed me. Just having people around me that support me no matter what I do helped me flip it around.
“I learned how to fight without so much weight on my shoulders and fight free. It freed me up to fight (to where) I should not worry if I’m going to win a fight or if I lose what’s going to happen, because it doesn’t matter. I started fighting for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons.”
Not only was Lopez’s mental approach in need of tweaking, fighting at welterweight was doing more harm than good.
“Trying to make 170 was just a little bit too much for me,” he said. “I was getting knocked out fairly easily. If you look back at the tapes, it was just little jabs and hooks that barely landed were putting me out.
“I learned the hard way that just because I can get to 170 doesn’t mean I actually should.”
While his family and friends played a big part in his rebirth as a fighter, it was his work at one of Colorado’s premier MMA gyms, the Grudge Training Center, and his training partners and coaches that took him to a new level.
“You don’t want to just be that body in there that they’re just running through, you want to bring something to the table and be worth being in that same room,” said Lopez. “That drove me like crazy and drives me still every day.”
Lopez’s hard work will be on display this Friday when he takes on Billy Colon at RFA 7.
“He’s a southpaw, brawler, push you around type of guy who pins you against the cage and goes to work,” said Lopez of Colon. “The thing is, I feel like I’m just a little bit better than he is everywhere; whether it goes to the ground, on the cage or standing up.
“All I have to do is stay loose, stay technical, stay sharp, not make any mistakes and the outcome will take care of itself.”
Now that he’s free of all the pressures that were holding him back, Lopez told MMAWeekly.com that he is enjoying living in the moment and whatever comes of Friday’s fight is fine with him.
“The way I got here is not really worrying about the future, it is just doing what I do and having fun,” he said. “So as far as where it goes from here, I’m just excited to see what God has in store for me. I’m having fun doing what I’m doing for now and its working for me, so that’s how I look at it.”