Claire Lopez – “She is a good challenge for me”

A new year in the violent yet exhilarating world of Mixed Martial Arts brings many opportunities for the vast array of talented individuals that we know and love.


For Great Britain Top Team’s Claire Lopez, 2023 has brought on a once in a lifetime opportunity to bring her vast skill-set to Tokyo, and showcase her skills for the RIZIN fans.


I caught up with Claire as she makes final preparations for her debut for the Japanese giants of MMA this month 


Claire Lopez (7-4-0) is a French professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Strawweight division, representing Great Britain Top Team. Claire has competed for GFA, RLFC, Ladies Fight Night, GMC, Made 4 The Cage, Shogun MMA, Bellator MMA, Combate Global and makes her debut for RIZIN on April 30th.


I’d like to kick things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me again today Claire, and also to congratulate you on your upcoming return to the cage at the RIZIN LANDMARK 5 in YOYOGI card.


“Thank you.”


You’re very welcome Claire.


I hope preparations have been going well as you prepare for your absolutely explosive debut with RIZIN?


“Yeah, everything is going well actually. I think I’m always in training camp because I’m always waiting for a fight, hahaha. Since I had the offer from RIZIN and Combate Global, I’ve started training a bit more with Shanelle Dyer because she is similar, but I’d say better than my opponent and she’s a striker, ao it’s perfect for me to do my training camp with her.”



I saw your story on Instagram when Shanelle gave you one of her signature kicks, they must take some getting used to hahaha.


“Hahaha, yeah, she’s a good kicker.”


It’s been 7 months since your last trip to the cage, and bore witness to your absolutely dominant Main-Event victory over Camila Rivarola with Combate Global and no doubt, you’ve been eager to get back out there?


The wait for a bout can be frustrating, but no doubt it gives you lkre time to perfect some of the ruthless power you’ve been showcasing recently.


“Yeah, of course. My last fight was in August last year, I was supposed to fight again in October and then in March this year. I’ve been training a lot this month so I’m more than ready now and I’ve improved a lot, so it’s not such a bad thing.”


100 percent, more time can sometimes be a great thing.


Many fighters over the years have expressed that it is one of their dreams to fight in Japan, an opportunity not many could turn down. Was this the case when you received the call from the highly respected organisation?


“Yeah, fighting in Japan has been something I’ve been waiting a long time for. For me, it’s the best place to fight because they have a lot of girls in my weight division. Asia in general is the best place for me to fight, because there’s a lot of money to be made. I’ve waited a long time for this and I’m hoping it’s not just going to be the 1 fight, if I do well I will ask for another, and possibly a contract. As soon as I was offered this fight, I immediately responded yes seconds after hahaha.”


I do not blame you, especially due to your weight category, Japan has many opportunities for you within your weight class.


“Yeah, there are a lot of Atomweight and Strawweights. And also, they don’t really care about your age either, as there’s a lot of female fighters between the ages of 40 and 45. It’s not like in the UFC when you reach 35 they think you’re old, in Japan it’s not a problem. I’m 34, so for me, I have a lot of time hahaha.”


Absolutely. Like ONE Championship, ages really isn’t a factor, there are some absolute killer’s over a certain age completely dominating their respective divisions still.


“I think as long as you put on a great performance and put on a good show, they are happy with you. It’s not about your age, they are happy with you as long as you give a good performance.”


I completely agree, a very respectful way to look at the fight game.


“Yeah, absolutely.”


Last we spoke before your victory in Miami, you expressed your desire to challenge for the Combate Global strap, is this still on your radar within 2023?


“Yeah definitely, I’m still waiting for the title fight at Atomweight. I remember a few months ago they said it could possibly be in the summer, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s going to happen. But I’m still asking for the shot, but if this is not possible I’ll be asking for a shot at the Strawweight title or another opportunity with RIZIN. But it’s not all about me, the number 1 has to accept the fight also, if she has personal reasons for saying no unfortunately, we can do nothing.”


Activity after you long lay off with injury was also high on your agenda, can the fans expect an active 2023 for you?


“This is something my manager asked Combate Global back in January, he requested that he’d  like to have 3 fights for me this year. This is what I want, I want 3 fights. They said they are going to do their best to make this happen in 2023, so we’ll keep pushing to get these 3 fights because I need to be more active. Because at the moment, I’m just surviving, hahaha. Living in London for just 1 fight is not great, I need to make the walk more.”


A great target for any combatant of the cage, I hope you get them.


Looking forward, you are set to take on Caesar Gym’s Rena Kubota, a highly decorated competitor and veteran with RIZIN. What do you make of Rena as you prepare to collide on April 30th?



“I was offered to fight Rena 3 years ago, I accepted but unfortunately it never happened, so I’ve been hoping to get the opportunity again. I’m happy because she is a good challenge for me, I’ll be testing myself against a better opponent. I’ve watched a few of her fights recently, I think I have better wrestling and grappling. Even though she’s a great striker, I believe my style will be hard for her to defend, you know.”


And on my many visits to GB Top Team, I see you have a poster of her from a past event in the gym. This must give some extra fuel for the fire as you prepare to meet?


“Ah yes, the poster hahaha. My head coach Brad Pickett was on this card as a corner man, So I see her face every time I come to train, hahaha.”


No doubt you give the poster a jab on yojr way out, hahaha.


“Hahahaha, yeah.”


RIZIN have given fight fans some of the most historic bouts and have played host to some of the world’s most prolific warriors in the fight game, April 30th will be no exception. Other than your inclusion on the night, are there any confirmed fighter’s or bouts in particular that you’re looking forward to witnessing?



“Personally, I don’t really know who else is on the card at the moment, hahaha. I don’t really watch the fights, and I don’t really know a lot about the other fighters on the card either.”


Just staying laser focused on your inclusion, I completely get that.


“But I’ll definitely enjoy the night, and the different rules. Because in RIZIN you can use soccer kicks, knees to the face from the grapple, so it’s definitely gonna be enjoyable to watch.”


It’s always great to witness the many different rules from around the world, one of the many reasons I enjoy watching RIZIN also. 


It’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today Claire, I wish you all the best for the remainder of your camp, and I look forward to witnessing you out there once again.


“Thank you, and thank you for your time.”


Always a pleasure speaking with you Claire.


Last but not least, do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance in Tokyo and anybody yo8d like to give a shout-out to?


“To everyone in attendance, make sure to follow me on social media. I’m embarking on a great challenge with RIZIN so there’ll be even more exciting content as I progress on this training camp. Big shout-out to my coaches Brad Pickett and Ashley Grimshaw, Ashley, my Jiu-jitsu coach is going to be my corner man for this fight.”

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