UFC’s Ricardo Lamas details recovery from worst career injury, open to lightweight move

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Everything is in place for Ricardo Lamas to return to the octagon.

The former UFC title challenger is looking to compete once again, targeting a return around the February mark. Lamas (19-8 MMA, 10-6 UFC) is in shape and ready to begin a training camp, but more importantly he’s all healed up from a broken jaw that he suffered earlier this year.

“The jaw is feeling good. It’s all healed up,” Lamas told MMA Junkie. “I fractured my jaw in two places, so I had to have a surgery after the fight, and they installed four titanic plates: two in each fracture.

“Luckily, I didn’t have to have my mouth wired shut. They gave me the option, and I said hell no to that. It was kind of a long recovery. My bite doesn’t feel the same as it was before. I don’t think maybe it ever will. My teeth just don’t line up the way they used to. So it’s a little annoying.”

The broken jaw stems from his last fight. Lamas suffered a knockout loss in June to rising contender Calvin Kattar at UFC 238. The 37-year-old featherweight said it’s certainly the worst injury he’s had in his 12-year career as a professional fighter.

“Yeah, it’s the only one that I’ve had that requires surgery,” Lamas explained. “Now, I’ve had plenty of other injuries: cuts, stitches, I tore my peck training one time – and that one hurt a lot – but this is definitely the worst one just because of the surgery I had to go through.”

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Injuries can often derail fighters’ careers and trajectories. But that’s not the case with Lamas.

“Going into this thing I knew that there could be some serious injuries that could occur,” Lamas said. “I think every fighter, if they don’t know that then they’re being naive. We know the risks that we take going into that octagon, and we’re prepared to deal with the consequences, so it doesn’t make me trigger shy. I’m actually back to sparring, and I’m sparring the same as I was before, so I feel all right.”

Lamas already has made the UFC aware of his desire to comeback in early 2020. There hasn’t been a discussion on opponent, but he expects to get a name soon – even if it’s 10 pounds north.

“I’m not going to rule anything out,” Lamas said. “If the UFC wants to offer me a cool fight at 155, I wouldn’t rule out going back up, so I’m just going to keep all my options open right now.

“It’s something that I’ve always thought about. I fought at 155 in the WEC and pretty much my entire career before UFC was at 155, and I was pretty successful there. You know, the weight cut would be a lot better, and it’s not  like I do a drastic weight cut for 145, but you just have to be extremely disciplined and to put in a ton of extra road work and cardio work to get the weight down. So to go back up, it would be a breath of fresh air, but I’m fine at 145. Like I said, if they offer me an interesting fight at 155, we’ll talk about it and see what happens.”

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Lamas has no specific name in mind for his return, but one thing is certain: The goal remains the same.

“Not anyone I have in mind; I don’t really care about the opponent,” Lamas said. “I’m just focused on getting back on that winning track and trying to put some wins together here and just do what I can to make another run for that title.

“Of course, I think it’s on everyone’s mind up until that moment I retire and hang up the gloves. I feel good. I want to listen to my body. Obviously, I don’t want to jeopardize any type of active future that I’ll have with my family and my kids. I have three kids, so I’m going to be very active with them, but so far I’m feeling good. I mean, you know that us Latinos age like fine wine, so getting better with age.”

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