NOLA MMA instructor Ray Lopez has proven to us before that he doesn’t pay a lot of attention to what he “should” and “shouldn’t” do according to what’s normal in martial arts. A couple of years ago, the now-brown-belt rolled 24 hours straight to raise money for his wife, who’s battling a rare and serious illness, and over the weekend, he fought and won his first pro MMA fight at the age of 37.
Lopez (who is one of our Jiu-Jitsu Times partner instructors) told us this about his decision to take his first pro fight at a relatively “old” age:
“I’m fighting because if I don’t do it while my body is able, I’ll have regrets for the rest of my life. I threw my talent away once already when I was younger and I wouldn’t be growing as a person or athlete if I allowed myself to let it happen again. I want my students or established fighters who find their way to us to be confident that they have a coach who has been through the fire — who has connections and established relationships with the promoters and can empathize with them on the physical and emotional rigors of taking a fight and going through a proper training camp.”
With a 4-0 amateur record, Lopez’s first professional win at BFC 36 has kept him undefeated, and although he’s taking a break for now, this won’t be his last fight.
“I’ll definitely fight again, but I’m going to take a little time off to heal up after 3 fights in 13 months and attend to Nola MMA as well. My students deserve an instructor who is invested in them and present and I have about 3 or 4 fighters getting ready to start ammy/pro careers. Those guys and girls are getting 100 percent dedication from me in regards to getting them ready for their respective fights, and I’m so excited for them to show all of the hard work they’ve been putting in. It’s gonna be a big year for us in New Orleans.”
Watch Lopez’s fight (which showcases his great jiu-jitsu) below: