Lamas not one for waiting
As far as Ricardo Lamas is concerned, enough is enough.
Inside the cage, the 31-year-old contender from Chicago has done everything he could possibly do in order to establish himself as the clear and obvious choice to fight for the title. Over the last two years, he’s earned four consecutive victories. Last time out, Lamas put the leather to Erik Koch on FOX, dominating the Duke Roufus-trained fighter that was twice lined up to challenge Jose Aldo for the featherweight title only to see his title opportunities disintegrate due to injuries.
Ricardo Lamas celebrates after defeating Erik Koch.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC
Saturday night following Aldo’s technical knockout win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in the main event of UFC 163, Lamas took to Twitter to make his case for next to the UFC brass, and he did it with the help of a few hundred friends (and his brother, Frank too):
“Sitting back and waiting for things to come to me has been what I’ve been doing this whole time, and it hasn’t been working,” admitted the 13-2 featherweight title hopeful, speaking to FoxSports.com earlier this week. “I’m not the type of guy that tries to throw myself out there, making all these boisterous statements – I try to let my fighting speak for itself.
“Where I was watching the fight is this cantina bar in downtown Chicago, and as the fights went on, the place started getting more packed. I went up to the manager and talked to him, he said, `Hell yeah! I’ll get you up there with the DJ; we’ll give you the mic and you can talk to everybody.’ So I decided to do something a little different with the video – something a little different than guys just staring at the camera, talking s*** about whomever.”
At this moment, Lamas isn’t sure what comes next.
Despite the fact that he stands as the consensus pick to be the next to challenge Aldo for the title, Saturday night’s main event threw another hurdle in the way of the man who has repeatedly been passed over and pushed aside in favor of less deserving, more marketable names when it came to championship fights.
Ricardo Lamas gets fired up after knocking out Matt Grice.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC
On the first kick he threw, Aldo broke his foot, and reports indicated the champion will be sidelined for approximately three months, pushing his next possible defense of the featherweight title into early 2014.
“I don’t really know what to think about it right now,” Lamas said of Aldo’s injury and a potential extended layoff for the dynamic Brazilian champion. “As soon as the UFC reaches out to me – which my guess would be that they’re going to give us a call either this week or next week – we’ll have to talk to them, and see what their final decision is. We’re just waiting for the dust to settle from the fights this past weekend, and we’ll make our final decision once we hear from them."
“But if they tell me I can have the title fight, it’s worth waiting for because that’s something a lot of fighter never see in their career,” he quickly added, making his intentions clear. “I’m not injured. I’m in the gym every day. I just look at this as an extended training camp, and use this time to work on my skill set and keep getting better as a fighter."
As much as he wants to wait for the title shot he’s coveted since earning a unanimous decision win over then-#1 contender Hatsu Hioki last summer in Atlantic City, Lamas also knows that there is a very real possibility that the UFC looks to move forward with the division, and line him up with one of the other top contenders in the 145-pound ranks.
Featherweight Ricardo Lamas kicks Cub Swanson during the UFC on FOX event.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC
But until he hears otherwise, Lamas is keeping his focus on the same goal he’s held onto throughout his climb to the top of the list of contenders.
“I’m hoping that’s how this will end up – that all that work I’ve been putting into this will pay off. I’m still trying to be as optimistic as I can even though I’ve been bumped a few times. I don’t want to start thinking negatively. When you think negatively, negative things will happen. I’m just trying to keep positive, stay in the gym, and keep my mind focused on what I’ve been working towards this whole time, and that’s the UFC featherweight title.”
Having been brushed aside in the past and stationed on the sidelines since finishing Koch back in January, Lamas wanted to make it clear that despite his recent run of success, he sees now way how the UFC could justify moving Cub Swanson into a title shot ahead of him.
“I think if he jumps ahead of me that would definitely piss me off,” he said of the Team Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter, who has won five fights in the last 18 months since losing to Lamas in November 2011.
“I don’t think it’s wrong that he’s in the mix of names – he has put together a great winning streak since we fought, but I’ve continued to win since then, and taken out two guys that were supposed to fight for the title. I think that should still be fresh in the UFC’s mind. I don’t think he should get a shot before me at all.
“I know he wanted a shot or he wanted a rematch with me, but a rematch is going backwards in my eyes,” he added. “I would understand if it was a questionable decision that could have gone either way, but I finished him before the midway point of the fight. It’s not like I finished him in the last 10 seconds and I was losing the whole fight before that. It was a clean-cut win, and I’m ahead of him as far as I’m concerned.”
Whether he ends up fighting Aldo or having to settle for a match-up with another featherweight contender in the interim, the Elmhurst College graduate known as “The Bully” will be ready to take out all his frustrations on whoever the UFC lines up across the cage from him.
“No matter who it is, I feel bad for the person they put in front of me for my next fight.”