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Those lighter weight fighters found a home in the blue cage, and with Zuffa taking over the promotion, along came greater visibility, a TV deal, and the opportunity for these fighters to reach an audience they never did in the United States before. Lamas was now a part of this. All he had to do was beat a legit contender on less than a week’s notice.

“Normally when you book a fight and you have eight to 12 weeks to prepare, you’re spending every day thinking about that fight and thinking about that opponent,” he said. “I had four days to do that (Laughs), so I jumped in and I had to sink or swim right away. It was cool that it happened that way because who knows how I would have performed if I would have had 12 weeks to worry about that huge fight coming up against a veteran like Bart Palaszewski. I truly believe things happen for a reason and I’m glad that things happened the way they did.”

Lamas upset Palaszewski via unanimous decision and he was off and running. There would be ups and downs over the course of his six-fight stay in the promotion, but one thing was a constant: he was fighting killers every night, from Palaszewski, Danny Castillo and James Krause, to underrated talents like Bendy Casimir and Dave Jansen, as well as Brazilian contender Iuri Alcantara.

And by the time it was announced that the WEC was going to merge with the UFC in 2010, Lamas was not only going to go to the big show, but he was going to do it as a featherweight.

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“It was something I was contemplating for a while because in college I wrestled at 157 pounds,” he said. “That was when we had one hour between weigh-in and competition time, so it didn’t take me long to refuel and get back to feeling good to compete, and the cut wasn’t that bad at all. I would diet during the week, and then Friday, Saturday, Sunday, I was able to pretty much indulge in whatever kind of foods I wanted to eat. I thought if I really cleaned up my diet, I could probably drop to 145 in a healthy way and compete pretty well there, so that’s what made me decide to make the drop because when the WEC merged with the UFC, I had a long layoff, so I was getting down slowly and picking up my cardio and fixing up my diet and brought my weight down gradually.”


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