Ricardo Lamas’s hands are wrapped up in a set of washed out wraps with the colors faded—his left hand is wrapped in green, white and red, and his right in blue, white and red. This Cuban-American displays his heritage in his flags’ colors, but also in a disciplined mental fortitude that has taken him to the top of his division.
Working so closely with Ricardo on these last days ahead of his fight with Dennis Bermudez in Mexico City has only further proved to me his tranquility and humility—reflected in his few words—but also his tenacity and focus on the goal of fighting again for the featherweight title.
Ricardo arrived in Mexico City a week before stepping into the Octagon on Saturday, November 15th. Mostly resting in his hotel, he only leaves to train to continue dropping weight, and then it’s straight back to the room. He decided to arrive in advance before getting a full schedule of interviews, photos and production details in order to adapt to the altitude and the city’s environment. But he’s been preparing for that for a while.
“I think I’m already used to the city’s altitude. For a month, before getting to Mexico, I was already sleeping on a hyperbaric bed. When I arrived, I think I got used to it in two days. I ran, I trained and I felt good, so I don’t think the altitude will affect my fight.”
Beyond those conditions, though, Ricardo has to deal with Dennis Bermudez, who’s on swift ascent and on a seven-win streak, including his most recent win over Clay Guida.
“He’s a tough opponent. He’s got a good game but he’s been using his boxing a lot. He’s a hard fighter and I’m excited to have an opponent as good as he is,” Ricardo said about Bermudez.
When I begin to mention that tough attitude and unbreakable character Bermudez has, Ricardo interrupts me to declare, “Just like me.”
Although he’s already set a goal to fight at least three times in 2015 to keep up this year’s rhythm—and to fight again for the title—his concentration lies on UFC 180.
“I want to give the people a show. I want to keep people on their feet. I want to seek the knockout. I’ll start on my feet with my boxing, but I’ve also got my grappling and my ground and pound.”
HIs official presentation to the Mexican public came during open workouts at the Museo Interactive de Economía, and the reception was full of screaming, applause, and a notorious chant of his nickname: “Bully! Bully! Bully!”
“It was incredible,” Ricardo said about being received so warmly. “I didn't know that it would be like this. Normally at open workouts, it’s just the press there, but this time it was a good experience for and I really enjoyed it.”
“I felt chills throughout my body [when hearing the fans yell “Bully”]. It was incredible. I didn’t know I would have so much support from the Mexican people. I didn’t know so many people knew who I am. But it was fantastic.”
Before stepping onto the Octagon, Ricardo reiterated his gratefulness for having had the opportunity of fighting in the first ever UFC event in Mexico, and for the reaction people had toward him.
“Thank you very much to the Mexican people for all the support. I promise to give you a show you will enjoy on Saturday.”
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