After Title Fight Discussions, UFC’s Ricardo Lamas Wants “Fight For Number One Contender”
By Kelsey Mowatt
When Ricardo Lamas was tapped to fight the highly regarded Hatsu Hioki in June, he knew that the payoff would be big if he handed the top ranked featherweight a loss. While the exact dividend that came with defeating Hioki by unanimous decision was not immediately clear, more recently, the UFC demonstrated to Lamas what the victory meant. Not only did the promotion reportedly offer Lamas a bout with Frankie Edgar, but when injuries hit the upcoming UFC 153 card in Rio de Janeiro, a title fight with Jose Aldo was briefly put on the table.
“It was refreshing to me that they had me in mind; that they would come to me with an opportunity like that,” said Lamas, after relaying that the UFC considered having him fight Aldo, when the champ’s original challenger Erik Koch got injured. “That tells me that they’re thinking about me and that I’m up there,for them to even consider me for a championship fight.”
According to Lamas, shortly after being offered the bout with Aldo, the promotion called him back to inform him that they had decided to go in another direction. That direction, was of course, the former lightweight champ Edgar.
“I was disappointed but it was something that I understood at the same time,” said Lamas, while discussing the UFC’s decision to put together an all-star bout between Edgar and Aldo, before the latter also went down with an injury. “It was something that came up last minute, so it’s not something that I could get really mad about. It wasn’t like they had been promising to give me the fight for a long time and just gave it away.”
The promotion’s patchwork to repair the UFC 153 card, which also lost “Rampage” Jackson due to injury, included a bout between Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar and the addition of “Minotauro” Rodrigo Nogueira versus Dave Herman. A bout between Lamas and Edgar, which the featherweight says was originally considered for December, didn’t materialize.
“We actually called them and told them that if they needed me I’d be available, but they decided to take Frankie off the card completely,” Lamas told Full Contact Fighter. “So right now we’re just waiting to hear who I’m going to fight and when it’s going to be. Right now I don’t really know what’s going on.”
“For both fights I had agreed verbally but nothing was signed,” Lamas added. “For the Aldo fight they said we had to redo my contract and we got that done, but then they called and said they were going a different way with it.”
Prior to defeating Hioki, Lamas (12-2) scored a submission win over Cub Swanson, who has inserted himself into the title shot mix by recording three straight stoppage wins. As a result of his recent successes, Lamas is almost certainly set to fight another of the promotion’s top featherweights.
“I hope so; I hope there’s a chance,” said Lamas, when asked if he believes a fight with Edgar could still happen. “I’m at the point right now where I want a fight for the number one contender. So that it’s possible for me to get a title shot. That’s what I’m working for right now.”
“The last fight, I beat a guy who had been offered a title shot but turned it down,” Lamas furthered about Hioki, who prior to fighting the American had won six straight fights. “It’s one of those things where it’s like what else do I have to do? Whoever I have to fight to get next in line for that title shot, that’s who I want to fight next.”
In fact, who Lamas meets next, could very well depend on when Aldo can return to action, and who the UFC decides the champion should face.
“I think they have to see how long it’s going to take Aldo to recover,” said Lamas. “I think that’s basically what they’re waiting on. So I just have to wait too; waiting to see where I fall into place with this whole thing.”