Ricardo Lamas is just a few weeks removed from what would have been a featherweight contest against former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn. Despite missing out on the opportunity to face the legendary Octagon fighter, Lamas admits he’s better off this way.
Penn vs. Lamas was set to headline a UFC Fight Night card in Manila, but was cancelled after Penn suffered an injury late into his training camp. Lamas now fights Charles Oliveira, saying this bout gives him a greater opportunity to make a statement.
“This is actually a better fight,” Lamas told “Fight Club” on SiriusXM (h/t MMAjunkie). “B.J. has fought one time at 145 and he lost. He wasn’t ranked. People were kind of expecting me to blow past him or whatever. It was kind of a lose-lose situation for me. I beat the guy and it was, ‘Oh, you were expected to beat him. B.J. should be retired.’”
While beating Penn would have been expected, “The Bully” also realizes how bad a loss to the aging Hawaiian could have looked too.
“If I lose to the guy it’s like a million times worse,” he said. “It was just a cool experience because I would be fighting such a big name, he’s a Hall of Famer in the sport and all that, that’s what would have been cool about it. But Oliveira, he’s ranked in the top-10 in the featherweight division so a win over him is a lot better for me.”
Lamas vs. Oliveira takes place at UFC Fight Night 98 Nov. 5.