MANILA, Philippines – Ricardo Lamas believes that his 5-round featherweight encounter against mixed martial arts legend BJ Penn will give him the opportunity to return on the winning track.
Lamas and Penn, who squares off with Penn in the main event of UFC Fight Night Manila 2 on October 15, is coming off a disappointing defeat at the hands of Max Holloway, yielding to the Hawaiian standout via unanimous decision this past June.
The aforementioned setback derailed his hopes of jumping back into title contention after he failed in his first career championship bout versus then-featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo in February 2014.
The 34-year-old native of Chicago, Illinois seeks to redeem himself at the expense of Penn, who returns to action for the first time in two years.
“It will get me back on track. I don’t think I will get a title shot with a win over BJ. I think I have to put another two more wins at least. But it will get me back on the winning track and get me re-focused on the title shot,” he told Rappler.
Lamas, a number 4-ranked contender in the UFC featherweight division, stressed that his match-up with Penn has no bearing to his stature in the 145-pound weight class’ standing.
“On paper, the fight doesn’t help me that much even with a good win. He is not ranked in the featherweight division. It’s not going to move me up or going to move me down,” he said.
Even though fighting Penn will have no impact on his position on the featherweight ladder, “The Bully” pointed out that it was an offer from the UFC that he could not refuse.
“Personally, it’s a great fight. This is a guy I practically grew up watching in the sport. He’s already a hall of famer. There are not many people that can say they competed against a hall of famer,” Lamas stated.
However, Lamas looks to make a statement when he shares the Octagon with Penn, who is one of only two fighters in UFC history to win world titles in multiple weight classes.
“I want to create these big memories that I could share with my kids and grandkids as I get older. This is a huge one to tell them about the time that I flew up to Asia and to the Philippines and take on a two-division world champion who is in the hall of fame. And I will tell them how I beat that person,” he claimed. – Rappler.com
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