Matthew Lopez Part 1 of 5

So I'm eating dinner in Sacramento at UFC 177.  Tyler Wombles. Anthony Gonzalez and I were wasting time at BJ's Pizza.  We were there working Tony Fergusons Corner.  All of the sudden my phone rang and it was Mark Munoz, he offered me an opportunity to teach Jiu Jitsu at Reign Training Center (this story will be detailed in another post).  Of course I said yes.  

 

Reign Wrestling with Coach Mark Munoz and Matthew Lopez

Reign Wrestling with Coach Mark Munoz and Matthew Lopez

"The Reign Days" 

Enter Matthew Lopez.  My Jiu Jitsu classes immediately followed Matt's wrestling practice. I can still remember watching him teach and control a room of 40+ kids, it was amazing.  I heard that he was fighting and didn't train Jiu Jitsu often, after every class I would ask him if he was going to stick around for Jiu Jitsu, and like a lot of the guys in there it took awhile for them to trust me and start training with me. 

 

Tough practice at 10th Planet Costa Mesa. L (Carla Esparza, Arian Sharifi, Matthew Lopez, Anthony Birchak, Casey Halstead, Andy Balmore, Kerry Phan and Ashlee Evans-Smith

Tough practice at 10th Planet Costa Mesa. L (Carla Esparza, Arian Sharifi, Matthew Lopez, Anthony Birchak, Casey Halstead, Andy Balmore, Kerry Phan and Ashlee Evans-Smith

One night as Matt was leaving practice I asked him "are you going to train tonight", to my surprise he said "yes".  I remember being so happy that he was going to stay, immediately I knew Matt was going to be good.  Matt was able to watch me show a technique and execute it as if he had been training Jiu Jitsu for years.  I remember he told me that up to that point he had done very little Jiu Jitsu.  He was so good that I didn't believe him, his years of wrestling really gave him an interesting take on Jiu Jitsu transitions.  He took to it well.  

 

Anthony Birchak, Matthew Lopez, Ashlee Evans-Smith and Casey Halstead  

Anthony Birchak, Matthew Lopez, Ashlee Evans-Smith and Casey Halstead  

I'm very fortunate as a coach to be able to work with such a receptive athlete.  Matt is always open to learning new things, he will adapt and allow his game to grow and change.  

This camp has been good, tomorrow we leave for South Dakota where Matt will fight for RFA.  I will document the entire week leading up to the fight. Please stay tuned for pictures and the inside info.  

 

Casey Halstead, Kerry Phan, Carla Esparza and Matthew Lopez  

Casey Halstead, Kerry Phan, Carla Esparza and Matthew Lopez  

Casey Halstead and Matthew Lopez  

Casey Halstead and Matthew Lopez  

Matthews Lopez getting his hand raised.  

Matthews Lopez getting his hand raised.