Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Apparently Hatsu Hioki was being honest when he said he wasn't ready to fight for the title.
Hioki, who many consider to be the second-best featherweight in the world, has agreed to face Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FX 4 on June 22 in Atlantic City, N.J., FoxSports.com reported Wednesday night.
"Many pegged Hioki as the next possible challenger for Jose Aldo's title, but he wants one more test before going for the belt," UFC president Dana White said in the report. "In his way is Lamas, who has proven to be a tough competitor for anyone to deal with, especially since moving down to featherweight and finishing both opponents at 145 pounds. Both guys have verbally agreed to the match."
According to sources, the UFC wanted to book Hioki against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, however, the Japanese fighter asked for another fight before challenging for the title.
The 28-year-old Hioki (26-4) is 2-0 since signing with the UFC. He defeated Bart Palaszewski via unanimous at UFC 144 in February and George Roop via split decision in October. He'll enter the bout riding a six-fight winning streak.
Lamas (11-2) is 2-0 since dropping down to 145 pounds. He submitted Cub Swanson via arm-triangle at UFC on FOX 1 and Matt Grice via TKO at UFC on Versus 4.
As a result of this matchup and the upcoming Dustin Poirier vs. Chan Sung Jung fight in May, all signs point to Erik Koch being Aldo's next challenger for the title. CagePotato.com reported on Wednesday that the fight is close to being finalized.
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