UFC world champions are among some of the most dedicated and disciplined individuals in the world. It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to learn from a UFC world champion. We wanted to open our gym to the world in a way that everybody will remember for years to come. Having UFC featherweight world champion Alexander Volkanovski and his coach Joe Lopez teaching a seminar at our grand opening weekend was exactly that.
Who is Alexander Volkanovski?
The Australian mixed martial artist Alexander Volkanovski is currently the UFC’s featherweight world champion. Volkanovski is a former rugby league player, who later transitioned to MMA and never turned back.
When he was 22, Volkanovski started training in MMA and wrestling to stay fit during the rugby league off-season where he weighed 97kg (214 lbs). However, after realising his passion for this sport; Volkanovsky quickly became one of Australia’s best fighters with a powerful overhand right as well as excellent wrestling and BJJ skills.
Becoming a Champion
Volkanovski’s promotional debut for the UFC was a successful one, as he defeated Yusuke Kasuya via second-round TKO to increase his win streak elevenfold. Volkanovski started to put together an impressive streak of wins in the UFC, including a decision win over Jose Aldo at UFC 237.
This streak led Volkanovski to challenge Max Holloway for the UFC Featherweight Championship at UFC 245. In an incredible back-and-forth battle, Volkanovski emerged victorious by the decision to become the new UFC featherweight world champion.
Since then, Volkanovski has defended his title multiple times and earned his place in the Pound for Pound ranking in the UFC.
Who is Joe Lopez?
When Volkanovski and his rugby teammates walked into Freestyle Fighting Gym, they didn’t know what to expect. That is until Joe Lopez introduced them not only to the art of fighting but also to a whole new lifestyle that would change their lives forever!
From teaching Volkanovski his first punch to cornering him in his world title fights, Joe Lopez has been with him every step of the way. Joe is the head coach of Freestyle MMA and one of the great minds in MMA today.
He has also coached alongside Volkanovski on The Ultimate Fighter season 29 also on that same season on team Volkanovski was Bangtao Coaches Frank Hickman and Andrew Wood.
Our whole team of coaches here at Bangtao has strong connections with the champ and his team. Coaches George Hickman, Alex Shield, Frank Hickman and Andrew Wood all were a part of Volkanovski’s early career and are still a part of the champs training camps to this day.
Coaches Andrew Wood and Frank Hickman featured with Volkanovski as guest coaches on the Ultimate Fighter season 29 as well as being a huge part of the champs training camp for his fight with Brian Ortega. With our coaches here at Bangtao and Volkanovski being brought together by Phuket and MMA, It created a bond that only can be made by training for hours together everyday.
At Bangtao we are blessed to be connected with some of the best fighters and coaches in the world. Having such good friends and true martial artists like Alex Volkanovski and Joe Lopez be part of our gym’s opening was an honour.
A Seminar with the Champion
To have Alexander Volkanovski and Joe Lopez teaching a seminar at our gym’s grand opening was truly an honour. Their knowledge and passion for the sport is incomparable.The pair showed some of the signature moves that have brought them from fighting on the local Australia scene to world championship matchups in the UFC.
The seminar was not only about techniques and moves but also the mindset that it takes to be a world champion. Volkanovski and Lopez both stressed the importance of dedication, discipline, and determination. All attributes are essential not just in martial arts but in life.
Working through his systems and getting a feel for the techniques, it was easy to see how Volkanovski has become one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
It was amazing to see so many people from our community in Phuket come and support our event. Seeing everyone come together and learn from some of the best in the business was truly special. Having people come together and enjoy such a special event after the pandemic was such a huge step forward for us all.
The Future is Bright
We are looking forward to what the future holds for us here at Bangtao Muay and MMA and we know the champ will be back soon to help us take things to the next level!
At Bangtao we believe martials arts can bring anyone together no matter who they are or where they are from. No matter your skill level Bangtao Muay and MMA has something for you. We offer classes for everyone from beginners to pro fighters. Come and check us out today!
At Bangtao Muay and MMA we are only just getting started and we can’t wait to show everyone what we have planned for the future.