Diego Lopes calls for Brian Ortega or Alexander Volkanovski at Noche UFC

A big fight. That’s what Diego Lopes wants, and in his humble opinion, that’s what he thinks he deserves.

The rising UFC featherweight is hoping the promotion returns the favor in granting him a fight against Brian Ortega or former champion Alexander Volkanovski at Noche UFC – the event celebrating Mexican Independence Day on Sept. 14 at The Sphere in Las Vegas.

It’s a big ask and two highly-coveted matchups at 145 pounds. However, given what Lopes has been through in the past week, he’s hoping that’s what he gets.

“They said I could fight at The Sphere, Dana White said at the press conference and yeah, if they can re-book the fight, that would be great,” Lopes told MMA Junkie in Spanish when asked about another booking against Brian Ortega. “We do have to see how he is health-wise and if he truly wants to return to 145 pounds and go through all that process. UFC would have to talk to him about that, but I already mentioned to the UFC that if it’s not Ortega, we would like a fight against Volkanovski. We want a fight against him.

“He’s another guy that’s in the top five and is not booked and waiting. I think with what we’ve done and the favors we’ve done for the UFC, I think we have a some points with them so we can push for certain fights, fights in the top five. So if it were up to me, Ortega or Volkanovski at The Sphere would be perfect.”

Diego Lopes (25-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) took a short-notice fight against Brian Ortega for Saturday’s UFC 303 event in Las Vegas. The day of weigh-ins, the promotion asked him if he could take the fight at 155 pounds instead of the contractual 145. Lopes obliged. Then, on the day of the fight, once the card had started, Ortega withdrew due to illness, and the UFC asked Lopes to fight Dan Ige on hours’ notice at 165 pounds. Lopes obliged.

It was a chaotic week for Lopes, but having left as the winner, he is happy with his decisions. However, he admits fighting Ortega would’ve been his ideal scenario.

“I’m not going to lie, it did feel different,” Lopes said. “It didn’t have the same taste that I was expecting all two weeks prior. But at the same time, I think I was still able to show that I’m capable of fighting against the best in the world. We can say that Dan Ige is the gatekeeper of the division. His defeats have only been against ranked fighters. He’s only lost to the guys inside the rankings and all have been decisions and that’s fighting the best.

“People can say whatever they want, ‘Oh, he’s only No. 13 and this and that,’ but people forget that the message Dan Ige sent to Hunter (Campbell) was pretty clear. He was in camp for three months, was going to fight in two weeks, and didn’t have to cut weight. Basically, he went to do sparring, something he does every day. People forget that.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie