On January 19th, live from Mexico City, Gustavo Lopez will be headlining Combate Americas 10 in the organization’s first foray into the country’s capital. A former title-challenger in the promotion, Lopez faces Steven Swanson, brother of UFC contender Cub Swanson, in the main event. The event can be seen live on Azteca (check your local listings.)
Cage Pages caught up with Gustavo who is currently in Mexico City preparing for his fight:
Well aware of the timing of the event, I spoke with Gustavo about whether or not it was an issue having a training camp that went though the holiday season. He also discussed how he remained in shape since his last bout.
The weight cut hasn’t been too bad. I’ve kept my weight down pretty low since my last fight, high 40’s, low 50’s. I actually started the last weight cut from about 150 so I’m doing good. We have one of our teammates here who’s a nutritionist, he takes care of all the food so we’re really lucky to have him in this camp.
His previous bout was an important one against John Castaneda for the promotion’s inaugural bantamweight title. I asked him for his thoughts about the fight, considering he almost finished it before Castaneda came back, and what he had discussed with his coaches about the bout.
I think we saw that I should have wrestled him more. Supposedly, he was better on the feet but I think I was getting the better of him standing. We saw in this first round I was able to drop him. Obviously other things happened, he came back and there was the eye-poke that the ref didn’t see. We saw that I should have wrestled him more than we did. I think in the first round when I dropped him, you know you have that feeling when you knock somebody down, and I think I got excited and went head-hunting. In terms of the eye-poke, my team and even people at Combate say they saw the poke, apparently the only one who didn’t see pretty much was the ref.Gustavo was also open about reports that he had gotten into an altercation with Castaneda before the bout. Rumors were that Lopez had choked out Castaneda the day prior to the event in the scuffle. Lopez cleared up exactly what had occurred during the incident.
I don’t have anything personal against John, it was just we were around each other a lot leading up to that fight. When I’m going to fight someone, I don’t want to be close to them at all. We had a lot of occasions where we were just really close and I didn’t enjoy them.
That incident we were on the same bus heading to the venue, we got off at a rest stop and when I was coming back from the restroom he was the only one outside. There were other people on the bus. We got into an altercation, he tried to wrestle me and we pushed each other back-and-forth. I did put him in a guillotine. I did not choke him out. It was more like ‘get away from me’ and when he got back up his lip got cut or something like that. But, I did not choke him out. I don’t know why he tried to wrestle with me, maybe he was trying to get in my head to see who the better wrestler is. It was more a funny situation, I laughed it off. We didn’t really talk to each other after that.
While the bout with Castaneda was an important one, he has another huge fight ahead with Steven Swanson in the high elevation of Mexico City. Lopez discussed how he had prepared for the conditions in the Mexican capital.
I’m well prepared. We actually came out here a little early to get acclimated and my cardio is amazing up here. I’ve adjusted to the elevation. At home we have this, hyperbaric chamber that we use to start getting used to it. I did all the work I needed to back in Vegas to be sure I was ready for this fight. I’m ready and excited and I don’t think the elevation is going to have any effect on me. That said, I don’t plan on letting it go to the distance at all.
Aware of Lopez’s status as an up and coming fighter, I spoke to him about what he is looking for next in his career. When asked about whether it was a rematch for the Combate Americas title or a potential move to one of the bigger promotions, Lopez had this to say:
In 2017, I’m looking to get back on track. Obviously, I want that loss behind me. It meant a lot to have the chance to be their (Combate Americas) first bantamweight champion because the promotion has grown so much. I’m in no rush to jump to any other promotion, everyone here has been great to me. I fought for Bellator once and they treated me great, but here at Combate everyone has been amazing to me. Anything I’ve needed, they’ve taken care of me better here than anywhere else I’ve fought for.
The company is still growing and I want to be a part of it, to be one of the pioneers of this company, we’re already blowing up here in Mexico. I am focused on winning, getting back on track and getting that title here in Combate Americas.
We have the potential to be bigger than Bellator and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.
Finally, with a headlining fight in a promotion that features a dominantly hispanic roster, I asked him about what kind of atmosphere he expected on fight night in Mexico.
I’m expecting a huge atmosphere. Everyone here, they’re loyal and they’re fans already. The fans here, just walking around the city, you can see they’re loyal and stick with a company. They’re die-hard fans. We are already on what I believe is the number one sports channel in the city so we’re going to keep on growing, and I’m excited to be a part of it.