Ricardo Lamas has finally got his wish – he will be fighting for the UFC featherweight title in the co-main event of UFC 169 against champ Jose Aldo. Ranked #3 by Sherdog and #2 by UFC.com, Lamas is truly one of the greatest at 145 and poses a serious threat to the seemingly unbeatable Brazilian. Lamas is 4-0 since moving down to featherweight and, coincidentally, holds the same record under the UFC banner.
With wins over Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch in his last three outings, Lamas has proved a force to be reckoned with and his fight with Aldo will answer a lot of interesting questions. The Bully might well be the toughest test to Aldo’s reign, he holds a number of notable victories, has solid Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a collegiate wrestler. The champ, however, is known for his incredible takedown defence, and it’ll be interesting to see if Lamas can take him down.
I spoke with Ricardo Lamas ahead of his bout with Aldo.
JC: When did you decide to take up MMA full-time, and what inspired you?
RL: I’ve been a fan of MMA since I was a kid and always wanted to do it. Up until I got into the WEC, I was working as a personal trainer and fighting at the same time. Once I landed that contract with the WEC, I decided to concentration on MMA full-time.
JC: Who would you say has given you your toughest fight to date?
RL: I think one of my toughest fights was against Dave Jansen in the WEC. It was a back and forward, bloody fight and I was dead tired afterwards.
JC: You’ve finally been given a shot at the title and you had a tough time getting there, how does it feel?
RL: It feels like the long wait and all the obstacles have been worth it. I’m at the door step of my dream to become a world champion, now I just have to find the right key to open that door.
JC: Can you explain what it was like to be within the grasp of a title shot, then having it taken away from you when the UFC decided to go with Pettis instead?
RL: I was upset but I had to just let it go and focus on the next step.
JC: How are you approaching the fight with Aldo?
RL: I’m approaching this like any other fight, and not focusing on any area more than another. I will train every area equally as normal.
JC: Your nickname is “The Bully”, is there a story behind this?
RL: My nickname comes from my 2 English Bull Terriers named Chico and Bane, I love this breed of dog so that’s the story behind it.
JC: Jose Aldo has had issues with cardio in the past, will you look to utilise this?
RL: I will come into this fight in shape and will push the pace to see if he is in shape or not.
JC: You’ve exchanged some trash talk with Cub Swanson and Chad Mendes, what are your thoughts on fighting them in the future?
RL: I don’t even care about Cub or Chad right now, my full attention and focus is 100% on Jose Aldo and it’ll stay that way.
JC: Conor McGregor has been known to use trash talk in the past, do you like this or does this make you want to fight him?
RL: To me, McGregor seems like a young and talented guy but he’s a cock kid just like all 21 year olds. Only time will tell if he can back his talk up or not.
JC: You will have been 13 months without fighting when stepping into the Octagon with Aldo, how will this impact your performance?
RL: It will not impact my performance in a negative way; if anything, the wait has made me even hungrier.
JC: You’re 4-0 coming into this fight since dropping down to 145, what was it that influence your decision to cut down and have you struggled to make weight since the drop?
RL: I debated dropping to featherweight before I even got in the WEC, but they preferred me at lightweight so I stayed at 155 until the UFC merger. I have not struggled with this weight, all it takes is more hard work and dedication in order to get down.
JC: What is your prediction for the fight with Aldo?
RL: A war.
Many thanks to Mr. Lamas for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions, and we wish him luck in what is an eagerly awaited bout against Jose Aldo. You can follow Lamas on Twitter: @ricardolamasmma