Despite “Pretty Bad” Injury, Ricardo Lamas Decided Bout With Hatsu Hioki Was “Too Good of an Opportunity”
By Kelsey Mowatt
If by handing Hatsu Hioki a unanimous decision loss Ricardo Lamas hasn’t convinced some people that he’s a top contender in the featherweight division, then perhaps the revelation that he did so while being injured, will be enough to sway their decision. Following his win over the highly regarded Hioki at this past weekend’s UFC on FX card in Atlantic City, Lamas has revealed that the win came despite an injury and a drastically modified training camp.
“It happened pretty much three weeks before the camp almost to the day,” said Lamas. “I was rolling with one of my training partners, he’s a bit heavier than me around 200 pounds, he’s a black belt…I ended up getting caught in kind of an awkward position and popped some cartilage in my rib. It was pretty bad for a few days; my cartilage was popping in and out.”
“I took three days off from training and started coming back little-by-little,” Lamas added. “I couldn’t spar; I couldn’t wrestle, I couldn’t roll for the last three weeks of my camp; all I was doing was cardio. I was doing the conditioning that wasn’t hurting my ribs…Luckily the rib held up okay.”
While some fighters may have elected to drop out of the fight because of the injury, especially when one considers the abilities of Hioki, Lamas ultimately decided that he could not let the opportunity pass him by.
“I was pretty worried about it, but I didn’t tell anybody or the UFC because I didn’t want them to pull me from the fight,” the 30 year-old Lamas relayed. “The thought crossed my mind but really I wasn’t going to pull out. It was too good of an opportunity. I had to pull out of my last fight, which I hated doing, and I just knew I was going to go in there and give it my best.”
Lamas had been scheduled to fight Dustin Poirier on February 4th, until a torn pectoral muscle forced him to withdraw from the fight. If Lamas had dropped out of his fight with Hioki, it’s possible that nine, ten months or more might have gone by without “The Bully” competing. Prior to the UFC on FX card, Lamas hadn’t fought since last November, when he tapped Cub Swanson out with a second round, arm-triangle-choke.
“Not really; my last fight I did really well and won a “Submission of the Night” bonus,” said Lamas, when asked if financial considerations played any part in his decision to fight Hioki injured. “So financially I was fine; I just didn’t want to be out of the cage for that long.”
With the UD win, Lamas became just the second man to defeat Hioki since 2007 and ended the fighter’s six fight win streak, which included victories over Marlon Sandro, George Roop and most recently, Bart Palaszewski.
“I thought he was going to be a little more aggressive,” Lamas said, when asked to reflect on the bout. “That’s something that surprised me in the fight. I think I gave him a little too much respect; I was waiting for him to do something big because there’s been all this talk and hype around him. Looking back I really wish I would have ignored all that a little more and opened my game up. I think if I had done that I could have put him away in the fight.”
Although Lamas was unable to finish Hioki, he threatened the renowned grappler with guillotine choke attempts on more than one occasion.
“The first two, in the second round when it was the no arm guillotine, I think those are a little easier to get out of than the arm in guillotine, so those I wasn’t too surprised he got out of,” said Lamas. “He has a very thin neck, you can say, so it’s kind of hard to choke someone like that. In the third round, with the arm in guillotine, it was really tight. That really surprised me. That’s one of the moves I get a lot of people with.”
Having extended his winning streak to three, Lamas will take a few weeks to allow his rib to heal, while he waits to hear from the UFC.
“I’m hoping it’s another top contender,” said Lamas, while discussing what he hopes comes next. “Someone who will help me move up the ladder even more. I think I’m a top contender so why not fight another top contender and see what happens?”