Late Night Cage Side Radio returned with another great show this past Monday night. Hosts Kinch and Sean McClure wasted no time getting to their first guest, UFC featherweight, and number one contender, Ricardo Lamas (15-2, UFC 4-0).
Lamas is set to face the featherweight champion, and one of the pound for pound best, Jose Aldo February 1 at UFC 169. Lamas’ last fight was in January, where he TKO’d Erik Koch in the second round to earn his fourth straight win in the UFC.
Aldo essentially turned down a fight with UFC Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis, in favor of one for Lamas. There’s no doubt Lamas is grateful he did, having already waited quite a while for his shot. Lamas gave his thoughts on why Aldo chose him and how it feels to be included with fighters like Pettis and Aldo,
“Yeah I think he does believe that I’m the rightful number one contender. He’s a great champion, he’s one of the most dominant champions in, well, the featherweight division and the featherweight history and in UFC history too. I consider him to be one of the pound for pound best fighters right now and I’m really excited to get the opportunity to see how I stack up against him. You know, I thought it was really cool that he said he wanted to fight me more than Anthony Pettis, because Anthony Pettis is another awesome fighter and to be up there and having these top guys, these top fighters in the world want to fight me is, it’s awesome”.
Lamas’ journey from his first fight in the UFC, a TKO victory of Matt Grice, to now, gearing up for a title shot, has been one of hard work and constant focus. Not wanting to look ahead, Lamas chose to take it one fight at a time,
“You know after every fight I had in the UFC I felt myself inching closer and closer to that title shot. Each fight that I had was progressively harder and against, you know, a bigger name and my last two fights were against guys who were supposed to fight for the title. So I defiantly thought it was coming, but it’s one of those things where you can never be 100 percent certain, you know what I mean? Cause you never know what Dana White is thinking, what the UFC is thinking. So it was something that I thought I deserved, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure I was going to get. But I just kept telling myself I got to stay the course and keep doing what I’m doing and not really worry about the title shot, just worry about what’s in front of me, you know? And eventually it’ll take care of itself and I’ll get there”.
During his 4 fight win streak Lamas bested Matt Grice, Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch. Lamas gave some reflection and insight into a few of those fights and described his key to getting the win,
“You know each one, each fight kind of tested me. In my fight with Matt Grice I was coming off a loss from the WEC and I really had to just focus mentally and be, you know , 100 percent on my game in that fight and, you know, I feel like I accomplished that. In my fight with Cub [Swanson] I had a death in the family the week of the fight. So mentally I wasn’t even there in that fight, but I really, you know, after that first round I really had to slap myself out of it and really dig deep down inside to kind of pull that win off. Against [Hatsu] Hioki I went in with a little injury. So that was another one that I had to dig, you know, dig deep inside for. That mental toughness had to come through. There’s not really one fight I could pick out, you know, every fight that I’ve fought I’ve had to dig down deep, you know, that’s just how I am, I’ve got a big heart. If you want to take me out in a fight you better knock me out or whatever, otherwise I’m going to keep coming at you, and the second you slip up and make one mistake I’m taking advantage of it”.
When “The Bully” steps into the octagon with Aldo on Feb. 1, it will be for the first time in over a year. It’s common to see a little ring rust from a fighter who has sat out with an injury, but Lamas plans to show that there’s a big difference in nursing an injury and simply waiting for the right time to strike,
“Well I say to them you know, I’m not sitting out because I’m injured, you know I’ve been in the gym every single day, I’ve been uh taking this time to train and get better as a fighter you know, to work on the things I was weak at before. So being away from the light this long has made me even more hungry. So come February 1 everybody’s going to see the best Ricardo Lamas yet, in the Octagon”.
Lamas has no illusions when it comes to his opponent. Jose Aldo (23-1, UFC 5-0) is the king of the featherweight division, and taking his crown will not be an easy task. Aldo’s last fight, a TKO win in the fourth round against Chan Sung Jung, only increased his status as one of the best. Lamas gave his thoughts on the champ and how he plans on taking the fight to him,
“He doesn’t have too many holes in his game, you know, he’s the champ for a reason, he doesn’t make very many mistakes. But I think the thing that everyone has to realize is that Jose Aldo is human just like everybody else. You know he’s going to make mistakes in there. I think the guys that have fought him lost the fight before, you know, even stepping into the octagon, mentally. And I’ve also seen, kind of, Jose Aldo in the latter rounds kind of coast through the fight and do just enough to win the round and to win the fight. And you know against me, I’m not going to let him do that, I’m going to have to put pressure on him the whole, all five rounds and just make it a dirty ugly fight man, just a dog fight”.
Lamas plans on focusing on what he needs to do, not on the highlight reel that is Jose Aldo,
“Aldo punches hard, he kicks hard, I know that, I’m expecting it, I know he’s going to hit me hard and kick me hard. But I’m going to keep coming forward, I’m going to take everything he throws at me and try to give it back to him. I think that’s what you really have to do. You can’t give him space, you can’t let him implement his style of fighting, you can’t let him come forward on you. You’ve got to go forward on him you’ve got to back him up”.
Lamas finished the interview with a final thought on his title shot that’s been a year in the making,
“In my head, its 100 percent, you know. I’d never take a fight that I don’t think I could win and I don’t think there’s any fight out there that I don’t think I could win. So, I’ve been the underdog in a lot of fights, and it doesn’t bother me at all. You know, the whole world doesn’t have to believe in me, as long as I believe in myself that’s all I need”.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE: