The Bully facing Jose Aldo is Undefeated in the UFC: Ricardo Lamas on Life and Fighting Jose Aldo at UFC 169.
Words: Helen Mei
Photos: Tracy Lee (note: these are composite photos and Ricardo did not train with the equipment shown in one of the photos)
In the world where life as a professional mixed martial artist requires countless hours of dedication and preparation in the gym, it is also a sport with an unforeseeable future. One moment you may have a fight scheduled and the next moment everything can change. UFC featherweight fighter, Ricardo Lamas, is no stranger to that lifestyle. Originally slated to fight the “Korean Zombie”, Chan-Sung Jung, at UFC 162 on July 2013, Lamas was pulled out of that card last minute, unexpectedly. However, he was recently offered the long-awaited opportunity to fight against the dominant featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, in the co-main event at UFC 169. With the fight quickly approaching and scheduled on the weekend of the Super Bowl, Ricardo Lamas took some time out of his training camp to chat with CombatLifestyle.com and talked about everything from how he’s preparing to fight Jose Aldo, his response to Chad Mendes’ comment, moving up a weight class, Bruce Lee, to his thoughts about fighting on Super Bowl weekend.
Nicknamed “The Bully”, Ricardo Lamas is coming off a great training camp and just earned his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. The UFC featherweight title contender is facing the reigning champion, Jose Aldo, on February 1st at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. With only four (winning) bouts in the UFC so far, he is still often considered an underdog in his fights. However, his overall record boasts 13-2, which includes his time fighting in the now defunct World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). With impressive victories over Matt Grice, Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki, and Erik Koch since moving to the UFC, Ricardo Lamas is no stranger to being the underdog and coming out victorious. “I wouldn’t consider it as an advantage going into this fight but I’ve been the underdog in plenty of my fights so it doesn’t get to my head or anything,” Lamas explains to CombatLifestyle.
He also reveals his training regimen to defeat the champion, Aldo, who is currently riding a 16-fight win streak. “I’m in Miami right now, I’m going to be here for one more week. I go back to Chicago next Saturday.” Lamas continued. “Training is going great. I went to Miami right after Thanksgiving, then went home for Christmas and New Year, then came right back again to finish up. This is my last hard week of training, then I just have to drop some weight.” He casually responds to how many pounds he has to lose during fight week, “I normally drop about 11 or 12 pounds.” Lamas was asked if he’s preparing differently for this fight because it’s for the title. “The only thing that’s different is I’m training for a five round fight than a three round fight. I’m treating it like any other fight.” The featherweight fighter has also been preparing to defend Jose Aldo’s leg kicks, “That’s been a staple of mine, checking kicks and avoiding them. I know that’s one of his biggest weapons and I’ve been practicing to avoid them. It’s been a staple of my training since the beginning.” Leading up to this fight, he was asked to elaborate on his pre-fight routines. “I just try to stay as calm as possible before my fight. I try not to get too hyped up. I try to keep a clear head and stay calm.” While Lamas trains in Miami, he was born in Chicago. When asked whether he’s a Bulls or Heat fan, he responded, “I’ll always be a be a Bulls fan, I have been ever since I was a kid.” He continued, “You can’t root against the Bulls(laughs).”
We ask Lamas who inspired him to begin fighting. Without hesitation he states, “Ever since I was a kid, I was a huge Bruce Lee fan. His movies really pushed me to want to learn martial arts so I started Taekwondo and moved into wrestling in high school and college.” Since Lamas began watching the UFC, he said his idol has been Vitor Belfort. Lamas then tells how his family has stood by his side and have been his biggest supporters, “My father has never missed a single fight and my brother goes every chance he gets.”
As mentioned earlier, Ricardo Lamas was supposed to fight in July, 2013. Since being removed from the card last minute, it has been a year since his last fight on January 26 against Erik Koch. When asked how he felt about having the year off, Lamas responded, “I don’t think it was beneficial but I don’t think it hurt me either. It made me hungrier.” Leading up to UFC 169, Lamas admits Aldo will be his toughest opponent yet, but considers Dave Hansen the toughest he’s fought. “I had a really good fight with Dave Hansen in WEC. It was a good fight, back and forth, and it was a bloody fight. I was really tired afterward, I remember.” With Jose Aldo rumored to be moving up a weight class soon, Lamas responds if he would be in a similar situation as well. “I use to fight at 155 so I’d be comfortable fighting there but I prefer where I’m at now.” When asked what the most difficult part of training is, Lamas response was clear. “The daily grind. I train three times a day so it’s mentally and physically tough going in the gym all the time, and pushing your body to the limit.”
Despite being a great fighter in the octagon, Lamas is also accomplished student. He is very studious, and he had a good plan to fall back on. “I graduated from Elmhurst College with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. I was planning on going back for my Master’s but then I decided to give fighting a try.”
Lamas describes his favorite food, “Peruvian food, it’s what I’m eating right now. I have to be healthy so I’m eating fish ceviche but normally I would recommend to people the lomo saltado. It’s delicious.” He responds that this favorite dish consists of strips of rib eye steak with onion, tomatoes, french fries, and white rice.
When the busy fighter isn’t training for fights, he likes spending time with his dogs, girlfriend and family. During his workouts, he likes to blast a specific genre of music. “I’m a wrestler and a lot of wrestlers like 80′s rock.”
According to a recent MMA interview on BloodyElbow.com, UFC featherweight Chad Mendes made a comment about supporting the champion, Jose Aldo, in his upcoming title fight. On being in line for another title shot, Chad stated that Lamas would be the easier opponent and he doesn’t want that and that he would feel more of an accomplishment to beat Aldo. In response to Chad Mendes’ comment, Lamas disregards it and says, “I don’t think I’m an easy fight for anyone. If he wants to see me that way, that would make my job easier if I ever have to fight him one day.” When asked if he feels added pressure with the card being on such a big sporting event, the Super Bowl, he responded, “No, I’ve fought in big venues before. I’m not even a big football fan so it doesn’t bother me.”
With only one week left (at the time we spoke with Ricardo) of hard training in preparation for the biggest fight of his career, Ricardo Lamas seemed very focused with only one thing in mind as he concluded the interview: “I’m ready for the training to be over and I’m ready to get in there.”