Ricardo Lamas on UFC on FOX 6 Bout With Fellow Contender Erik Koch: “I Can Get in There And Hold my Own With Anybody”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After Ricardo Lamas worked his way to an impressive, unanimous decision win over top ranked featherweight Hatsu Hioki last June, there was little doubt that the 30 year old vet would face another of the division’s best fighters next. Although possible bouts with featherweight champ Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar fell through in the fall, Lamas was finally signed to fight Erik Koch, who had been scheduled to fight for the belt last July.
“After the Hioki fight I kind of had to wait around a little bit, so that I could get a fight that would make sense to propel me forward, and not just take any fight,” Lamas said on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing his upcoming January 26th, UFC on FOX bout with Koch. “I’ve been working hard, and each fight has been harder and harder, against a tougher and tougher opponent. So I wanted to keep that going and just had to wait around a little bit for it.”
Koch (13-1) was originally awarded a title shot versus Aldo at UFC 149 last July, as a result of four fight win streak that included victories of Raphael Assuncao and Jonathan Brookins. An injury to Aldo, however, forced the fight to be moved to UFC 153 in October, before Koch withdraw due from that card due to a partial tear of his MCL. Lamas was then contacted by the promotion about the possibility of stepping in at UFC 153, but the promotion ultimately elected to match Frankie Edgar against Aldo on February 2nd.
“A lot of the top contenders were either injured or had fights already set up,” Lamas (12-2) furthered. “So Erik Koch I guess made the most sense in the UFC’s eyes and they approached me about the fight. It was originally supposed to be on December 29th, but because of the injury he sustained while training for Aldo we had to push the fight four weeks back to now in Chicago.”
Of course, due to the fact that Lamas hails from Chicago, “The Bully” should have plenty of hometown support when he faces Koch later this month.
“I haven’t fought in Chicago since I signed with the WEC,” said Lamas, who tapped out Cub Swanson at the first UFC on FOX card in October, 2011. “I think my last fight in Chicago was back in 2008, and I’m just really excited to have another chance to come back in front of my family and friends.”
Although Koch has scored numerous submission skills during his career, he’s likely better known for his striking skills than Hioki, who is more widely known for his ground game.
“It’s really just another fight to me,” said Lamas, while discussing the skillsets of Koch and Hioki. “I don’t think I favor one style over another. I consider myself to be pretty well rounded and I think I can get in there and hold my own with anybody no matter if they’re a striker, grappler or whatever.”
“In the Hatsu Hioki fight I wasn’t afraid to go to the ground with him,” the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt and former collegiate wrestler furthered. “I was just kind of in the mind set that wherever the fight goes I’ll be able to hang in there with him and I feel the same way with the fight I Erik Koch. Wherever the fight goes I’ll be ready.”
If Lamas defeats Koch at UFC on FOX 6, then the veteran will have taken another big step closer to securing a title shot in the coming months. Of course, who will be the champion, if and when Lamas becomes the number one contender, depends on what happens at UFC 156.
“I think Frankie needs to do what he normally does,” said Lamas, when asked for his thoughts on the upcoming Aldo-Edgar bout. “He needs to move around a lot, he needs to score takedowns and score points. I think the closer that the fight gets to decision I put it more in Frankie’s favor…if he’s avoiding those big hits from Aldo I think he can get the job done.”