Dhiego Lima Happy With TUF 19 Run Despite Finale Loss, Plans to “Show What I Can do” in UFC Welterweight Division
By Kelsey Mowatt
Dhiego Lima may have come up short in his bid to win “The Ultimate Fighter’s” latest middleweight competition, but the 25 year-old knows he has plenty to celebrate after competing on TUF 19. Not only did Lima advance to the finals of the show, by scoring two submission wins, the Atlanta Top Team fighter was given two “Performance of the Season” awards.
“I feel good man. I’m happy with what I accomplished. I wanted to win the whole thing but God had other plans,” Lima relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “I felt great throughout the whole season. I had good fights there. I felt good warming up, walking out, everything. I was like, man, this is my night. So there was nothing there; I felt really good.”
Lima was stunned by Eddie Gordon early on in the fight, however, and the Brazilian born fighter was handed the first stoppage loss of his career.
“It was the big right hand, it caught me, and I could never recover fully 100%, and it just happens,” Lima furthered. “I got caught. It just happens to the best of us.”
“It’s like I said man, God had better plans; I ended up getting both bonuses for the season, so that really helped out as well,” Lima added later in the interview. “And I still get to fight in the UFC, so I’m ready to show what I can do. Going back to my natural weight class (welterweight); I think that’s going to be big for me, and I just can’t wait.”
While UFC President Dana White questioned the motivation of some of the TUF 19 fighters, it looks as though Lima doesn’t have to worry about finding a new employer.
“I talked to Dana right away and he told me that I did really good during the show, he really liked me during the show and that I always come to fight,” said Lima. “He said for me not to worry; I’ll be back.”
While clearly Lima wishes he was on the other end of the fight ending punches, the MFC veteran says he was pleased to see Gordon lay claim to the “Ultimate Fighter” title.
“We were actually roommates. He slept in the bed right under me the whole time,” said Lima. “I knew it was going to be either me or him…of course I’m disappointed for me, but I’m glad it was him. If it was any other person I would have wanted, I wanted it to be him, it was him. So it was either going to be me or him. We knew it from the beginning.”
Thanks to the come-from-behind, submission victory he recorded over Tim Williams, and his first round tap-out of Roger Zapata, Lima picked up an extra $50,000 in bonus money.
“I really needed that,” said Lima, while discussing his “Performance of the Season” awards. “With three kids it’s really hard, because we own a gym as well, and we’re not where we want to be yet. We’re almost there, but we’re still not where we want to be, so it’s hard getting by. You have to pay for your own training camps, and we couldn’t have any sponsors for this fight either, so, it was really hard. Everything I had to do came out of my pocket, so that really helped me out. It was really exciting.”