Lucas Martins defeated Robert Whiteford in his most recent appearance inside the Octagon, but that wasn’t enough for the UFC to offer him a new contract.
Martins, who signed a new three-fight deal with the promotion after scoring three straight finishes in his first four UFC fights, entered UFC Fight Night 86, on April 10, coming off losses to Darren Elkins and Mirsad Bektic. "Mineiro" defeated Whiteford in the final fight of his contract, and the UFC said he’s cleared to negotiate with other promotions. Combate first reported the news.
"My manager (Diego) Lima was talking to the UFC, and said that the division is full," Martins told MMA Fighting. "Even though I was coming off a win, my contract is over and they told me to get a couple more wins outside the UFC, two nice knockouts, and they would definitely sign me again. I wasn’t expecting that because I was coming off a win, but it’s fine."
Martins (16-3) signed with the UFC to face Edson Barboza on short notice in 2013, losing via first-round stoppage. The Chute Boxe talent went on to defeat Jeremy Larson at lightweight, Ramiro Hernandez at bantamweight and Alex White at featherweight before signing his new three-fight deal.
"I’ve done a lot of things in there," he said. "There are athletes in the UFC that haven’t done half of what I did, and this is happening to me. I’ll keep my head up and continue doing my job. I’m looking at other fights now and go back to the UFC because they pay us better. I don’t fight for status, I fight for money to help my family."
Martins, who will stick at 145 pounds for his next fights, told MMA Fighting that he has already received an offer from Bellator, and it was a good one.
"We got an offer from Bellator and it’s great financially," said "Mineiro", who scored finishes in 14 of his 16 professional victories. "I would be able to have my sponsors in the cage as well since there’s no Reebok there, but I’m going to think about it."