When he entered the Octagon at UFC 169, Ricardo Lamas had a conservative mindset. Being cautious against featherweight champion Jose Aldo was at the forefront of his approach, and the former No. 1 contender feels it cost him the fight.
Lamas lost a unanimous decision to Aldo that night, and not a day goes by when he doesn't wish he didn't fight the way he did. Having your first UFC title shot does that kind of thing.
“Because it was a title shot I was a little bit overly cautious, and I wish I hadn't done that,” Lamas told MMAWeekly.com partner Majority Draw Radio. “I didn't really fight like myself. It cost me the fight. I beat myself in that fight. Jose Aldo didn't beat me. But I know what I'd be up against again and I'm going to prove to whomever I have to prove it to that I deserve another shot, and I'll be back in there with him.”
Lamas' first step in working his way back up the 145-pound ladder is a UFC Fight Night card and an evening with Hacran Dias in San Antonio, Texas. With a 21-2-1 record, Dias comes across as a formidable opponent, but he wasn't Lamas' first choice.
He asked for a few different fights, but the UFC had different things in mind for Lamas. What was offered was a match with Dias, and Lamas put his desired fights at the back of his mind in an effort to focus on his new foe. In order to prove he can fight Aldo again, Lamas will have to show he can get the job done against anyone put in front of him.
“I asked for a couple other fights, and UFC didn't really want to give them to me. Hacran was the only guy that they had for me,” he said. “But he's no slouch. He's a tough guy, and it's a good fight. Just because he isn't ranked doesn't mean anything to me. The guy has a good record, he was coming off a long win streak before his last fight against Nik Lentz, but he's tough. I'm not taking him lightly. Any chance that I get to prove myself against anybody I'm going to do exactly that.
“I'm not going to sit here and bitch and complain about anything,” he added. “This is another fight, another chance to prove myself, and that's what I'm going to do.”
Having come off a loss to the best featherweight in the world in the co-main event for a pay-per-view, it was commonly assumed that Lamas would fall down the card for his next outing, perhaps an undercard for the next PPV. But where he landed was a UFC Fight Night, a kind of event that has in the past received criticism for looking subpar.
Addressing such concerns, Lamas said none of that matters. While it was great to garner attention as the co-headliner for a premium fight card, Lamas said having a spot on a free-TV card opens up big opportunities, too, as long as he and Dias put on a show.
“It doesn't matter to me if I'm on a pay-per-view card or free-TV card or whatever,” he proclaimed. “Every UFC event has the potential to be a blockbuster hit. It depends on the fighters and it depends on how the fights go. This is the biggest organization in the world and we're going to get the exposure as long as we put on a fight.”
If Lamas continues to put on the fights he feels he's capable of, he'll soon find himself in the same place he was last February: looking across the Octagon at Jose Aldo. This time, however, he said the approach will be different. Lamas won't fight as conservatively as he did the first time, and no amount of fear will ever show on his face.
“When I get in that cage,” he said, “there's no man on earth that's going to stand on the other side of that cage that's going to intimidate me.”
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