Last night, news broke that Ricardo Lamas was scratched off of UFC 162 after his scheduled opponent Chan-Sung Jung found himself with a UFC 163 title bout against Jose Aldo. While Lamas will be paid his show money for his trouble and is hopefully awaiting the winner of Aldo/KZ, it’s hardly a consolation in today’s fast-paced, quickly changing UFC landscape.
Even The Korean Zombie admitted that he feels bad for Lamas, going as far as to state that he believed Lamas deserves the shot more than he does. But KZ is definitely the more popular and marketable fighter, so he got the shot when Anthony Pettis went down with an extremely unfortunate knee injury. Aldo vs. Jung is a fight that many have been calling for since KZ’s incredible submission win over Dustin Poirier last summer.
However, it may indeed be Lamas who boasts the more impressive resume, and in turn, is more deserving of the next attempt to dethrone the dominant Aldo. Lamas has had four fights in the UFC, and he’s won them all against top competition at featherweight. He nailed Matt Grice with a vicious head kick in his debut, tapped Cub Swanson out with a beautiful arm triangle, and won a decision over Hatsu Hioki. Lamas was last seen dominating former scheduled title challenger Erik Koch with a series of gruesome elbows at UFC on Fox 6 this January. That’s quite an impressive run through the world’s top competition at 145 lbs.
Jung, on the other hand, has been building quite the resume of his own. He boasts an effective and exciting submission game, and has knockout power to boot. KZ’s Twister on Leonard Garcia won submission of the year in 2011. He’s had three wins in three UFC fights, and he’s incredibly won all three Fight Night Bonuses in those bouts. There’s no doubt that he is one of the most dynamic fighters currently on the UFC roster.
However, despite Jung’s illustrious resume of bonuses, Lamas does indeed edge him out in terms of strength of competition. Leonard Garcia, Mark Hominick, and Poirier are all very talented featherweights, but they just don’t match the talent of Lamas’ four-fight win streak in my eyes. It’s close, but the edge ultimately goes to Lamas. Both have been incredibly exciting throughout their young UFC careers, and it’s a shame that we won’t get to see them duke it out for the next title shot at UFC 162.
But that happens in the UFC, and someone has to fight for the title. Jung may be the more popular fighter at this point in time, but it’s without doubt that Lamas will one day contend for the bout. Whatever happens, it’s an exciting time for the UFC featherweight division regardless, with multiple worthy contenders for Aldo’s long-held title belt. That’s something we’ve not seen since the division’s inception.
So while Aldo vs. The Korean Zombie is almost assured to be a great fight, I think that Lamas deserved to step in for Pettis just a bit more than Chan-Sung Jung. What do you think?