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Dana White ready to give Diego Lopes, Dan Ige spots on UFC Sphere card

LAS VEGAS – UFC CEO Dana White will grant Diego Lopes and Dan Ige their wishes of competing at the Sphere.

With Brian Ortega unable to compete in this past Saturday’s co-main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas due to illness, Ige stepped in on four hours’ notice to face Lopes (25-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC). Ige (18-8 MMA, 10-7 UFC) rallied in Round 3 but wound up losing a unanimous decision in a valiant effort.

White lauded both fighters for accepting to fight. Before Ortega (16-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) was ruled out, Lopes already accepted for their fight to shift from featherweight to lightweight.

“When you have guys like Diego – the guys that were involved in the co-main event tonight are just absolute studs,” White told reporters at the UFC 303 post-fight press conference. “Think about this: Diego gets the call, he’s (Ortega) not going to make weight, ‘No problem, I’ll take the fight.’ That right there is already mentally challenging. … How many guys don’t accept the fight and don’t do it.

“Then he gets the call that he’s (Ortega) out, and we want to put somebody else in, and he accepts the fight. And it’s a completely different style than what he trained for, and he still takes the fight. The guy he was supposed to fight was ranked in the top three. This guy’s (Ige) like one above him. The mental challenges that were thrown at this kid.”

Lopes suggested his fight with Ortega get rebooked Sept. 14 at UFC 306 from the Sphere. Ige also called for a spot on the card, and White is happy to oblige.

“You couldn’t have two bigger studs than these two guys tonight,” White added. “Incredible. I do. I’ll do anything for these guys. So yeah.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 303.

Be sure to visit the MMA Junkie Instagram page and YouTube channel to discuss this and more content with fans of mixed martial arts.

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