If there were top pound-for-pound rankings for consummate MMA professionals, Ricardo Lamas would be a mainstay at the top of that list.
Dedicating his life to staying at the top of his craft, the Chicago gym-rat turned gym-owner always shows up in peak mental and physical condition, and as such, always finds himself in the thick of the featherweight fray.
We caught up with him on the ground in Argentina this week, where he’ll look to put an uncharacteristic two-fight slide behind him. We wanted to know how he prepared for Darren Elkins, if he feels a heightened sense of urgency with this fight, and, of course, goats.
UFC: First and most importantly, tell us about the goat yoga.
RL: My wife, after having our second child, was having some issues with post-partum depression and anxiety and stuff like that. She was looking into lots of different homeopathic ways of curing it without having to go pop pills or take medicine. Animals are one way to help deal with stuff like that. She came across the goat yoga thing, and it was more for mental [wellness], and it was awesome! For me, it was just an excuse to go play with goats. I did about five minutes of yoga and spent the rest of the time playing with goats. But it’s good! Anyone out there who’s having any mental health issues, look into it. Because when you’re there, with animals, you tend to forget about all your other problems. It relaxes you and it helps a lot.
UFC: Do you think there could be a benefit there for fighters?
RL: Of course, yeah. Yoga too, in general. Just getting away from the gym, being in a quiet place, focusing on your breathing and relaxing is beneficial to anyone, not only fighters.
UFC: You’ve drawn Darren Elkins this Saturday. Where do you have an advantage against him?
RL: I feel like I have an advantage everywhere. I feel like I’m faster, more explosive. I feel like I have better jiu-jitsu. I know he’s tough, I know he’s durable, and I prepared for that. I know this isn’t going to be a walk-through fight. I’m ready for a war.
UFC: You trained with Elkins back in the day. Is there anything from those sessions you can bring into the Octagon on Saturday?
RL: Not really. It was so long ago. I know both of our styles have changed since then, so I’m taking this fight as if I’ve never seen this guy or trained with him before.
UFC: Is there a sense of urgency to get back on the winning train?
RL: I mean, nobody likes to be on the losing train [laughs]. But no, I take everything in stride. This fight is no different than any other fight I’ve had. I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself to get this win and get back in the win column. I just put in all the work that I possibly could. I’m going to perform well on fight night, and if I do that, I’ll be happy regardless of what the outcome is.