While it wasn’t the most spectacular performance, Ricardo Lamas showed he can still be a legitimate force in the featherweight division by defeating Hacran Dias at UFC Fight Night 44. However, that victory did come at a price. “The Bully” was forced to go back to his wrestling roots after sustaining a broken thumb and was able to grind down the Brazilian to earn the unanimous decision nod.
It was Lamas’ first Octagon appearance since a failed title shot in February at UFC 169 against Jose Aldo. He improved to 14-3 with the victory and holds down the No. 4 spot in the organization’s latest rankings. Lamas still has plenty of work to do before getting back into the title conversation, but the rebound win over Dias was a strong first step. Now it’ll be interesting to see what matchmakers decide upon for his next Octagon appearance.
There are a number of strong options to consider for his next fight. No. 9 ranked contender Nik Lentz was quick to call out “The Bully” via Twitter for a potential matchup. He didn’t seem impressed by the Lamas victory in San Antonio. “The Carny” is a durable veteran who has faced strong competition and would make for a solid fight. Lamas facing the winner of next month’s Clay Guida–Dennis Bermudez clash at UFC on FOX 12 would also be an attractive option to consider.
However, the one matchup that I think would be the best fit for Lamas would be a date against Frankie Edgar. That’s incumbent on the former lightweight champion defeating B.J. Penn this weekend in the main event of the TUF 19 Finale. The No. 3 ranked Edgar is in the same boat as Lamas in looking to get back into title contention. If Edgar defeats “The Prodigy” for a third straight time, a future matchup with Lamas would be a very meaningful and attractive matchup in the 145-pound division.
“The Answer” had a previous shot at Aldo, losing to the talented Brazilian by unanimous decision at UFC 156. His frenetic pace and striking skills would be an excellent test for Lamas. It’s a fight that matchmakers should seriously consider if Edgar is able to get by Penn in Las Vegas.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.