CES MMA 58
Chris Lozano (10-4) is set to compete for just the second time since 2012, and his return fight will feature a chance at gold.
The Cleveland native is set to challenge Vinicius de Jesus (8-2) for the welterweight title at CES MMA 58.
Lozano reigned as one of the most exciting fighters to hail from Ohio earlier in the decade, and he competed five times under the Bellator MMA banner from 2010-2012.
His fight against Jason Dent at NAAFS: Fight Nite in the Flats in 2010 is one of the most memorable fights in the history of the promotion, and he continued to make a name for himself on the national stage with Bellator wins over Yoshiyuki Yoshida and Brent Weedman.
He was cut from Bellator in 2012 after two straight losses, but he returned to the NAAFS to earn a victory over James Warfield at Fight Nite in the Flats VIII. He went on a four-year hiatus after that bout, but returned in 2016 against UFC veteran Ed Gordon at CFFC 60. Lozano lost that bout and hasn’t competed since.
De Jesus posted a 3-1 record under the Bellator banner, and won he CES MMA welterweight title with a decision over Jeremiah Wells in his promotional debut in March.
It seems as though the promotion has had trouble finding him opponents, as De Jesus told The MMA Report that three fighters turned down the bout before Lozano accepted.
Lozano has obviously had an up and down career, and he says there’s a reason for that.
“I came back to fighting after a long break because I figured out what I really wanted to do,” Lozano told BluegrassMMA. “I spent a lot of time trying to find exactly who I really was. I went and did all kinds of things – learned how to play an instrument, finished getting my degree in school, started a business. I did all kinds of things, and the whole time I was just trying to make sure that I was fighting because I wanted to fight and not just because I had to. I wanted to. And then after I proved to myself that I didn’t have to fight but that this was something I chose to do, I realized it’s exactly what I wanted to do.”
He says he doubted his abilities in the past, even when he was at the highest levels.
“I think I doubted myself for a long period of my life because of low self-esteem,” Lozano said. “And I think I took a few years to get to know myself and build my self-esteem back up. I returned to fighting because I searched myself and I realized that this is what I am, this is what God had made me, and I just chose to accept that and embrace that to the best of my ability for as long as I’m supposed to. I don’t know how long that’s going to happen but once I knew this was what I was supposed to do, I just went full force. Nothing else mattered except fighting anymore.”
In the time that he has stepped aside from fighting himself, he’s become a noted coach in Ohio and can regularly be seen cornering fighters at local shows.
“Coaching actually ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Lozano said. “It helped me understand my craft even better and make me a better fighter. It humbled me and taught me the mistakes I was making in my own training. It taught me to become a better fighter. I can’t say enough about coaching, coaching is everything. Let’s say for instance, if you tried to teach someone how to write, you’d just elevate your writing game.
There’s something about the way that humans are that if we give, we get so much more back. Just trying to give that knowledge, I think I just quadrupled my knowledge, maybe even more. I don’t know how to explain it. I love coaching, I love it.”
So now at 36 years old, obviously there will be questions about how far he can go in his career. But for Chris, the goal is just to finally reach his full potential.
“My goals for fighting going forward are just to be the greatest I can possibly be,” Lozano said. “Obviously I want titles and I want money and all the things that come with that, but I’m not competing with anyone else – in the cage, yes, I’m competing with whoever they put in front of me – but I want to be the best that I can be.
“I want to beat everyone who comes in front of me, because I pushed myself hard enough and I was intelligent enough to prepare properly for each opponent. I want to prove to myself that I am what I believe I am. There’s something inside of me that knows I’m more than I’ve been in the past. My goal for the world is just to show that to myself, and for the world. I want people to know who I am, and this is a chance to express myself. I just want to be great, but the greatest I can be.”
CES MMA 58 airs on UFC Fight Pass from Hartford, Connecticut on Sept. 7.
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