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UFC 199 notebook: Ricardo Lamas says it's going to be hard for Conor McGregor to make 145 again

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- The longer it goes, the more difficult it will be for Conor McGregor to come back to the featherweight division, according to Ricardo Lamas.

"He's still a young guy and he's still growing into his body," Lamas said Thursday at UFC 199 media day. "I think the older he gets, the harder it's going to be for him to come back down to 145. The longer he waits, the harder it's going to be on him. It's a definite possibility he may never come back."

Lamas was once a prime target of McGregor's trash talk -- and vice versa. Who could forget Lamas' "Conrad McGillicutty" spoof of McGregor from early last year?

But that seems long in the past now. Lamas is focused now on regaining his position in the featherweight division. He was knocked out in the first round by Chad Mendes in April 2015, but is coming off a unanimous decision win over Diego Sanchez last November.

On Saturday, Lamas (16-4) will meet Max Holloway in a top contender bout at UFC 199 here at The Forum. Lamas thinks a win over Holloway, who has won eight straight, puts him right behind the winner of the UFC 200 fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar for a featherweight title shot.

"He's got the longest win streak in the featherweight division right now," Lamas said of Holloway said. "A win over him kind of steals that momentum and puts me up in front right after the winner of Aldo-Edgar, I think."

Things are messy at the top of 145 right now. Aldo and Edgar will battle for the featherweight belt while McGregor, the featherweight champ, moonlights at 170 or 155 -- or even a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. (OK, probably not the last one.)

Lamas, 34, isn't pondering any of that stuff as he heads into the latest biggest fight of his career.

"I try not to think about it too much, because it'll rack your brain," Lamas said. "A lot of it depends on McGregor if he does ever come back or not. Whatever. The featherweight division will continue on and be just fine. If he doesn't come back, I think the winner of me and Max will face the winner of Aldo and Edgar."

Moving down two weight classes fine for Jessica Andrade

At first glance, cutting from 135 pounds to 115 pounds for a fighter doesn't seem like much fun. In the UFC, there are no women's divisions in between that 20-pound gap, so choices are limited.

Jessica Andrade made her choice after her last fight and decided to forego bantamweight for strawweight. In the end, everything went smoothly. Andrade is only 5-foot-2, but was carrying a lot of muscle. She said she dieted down most of the weight and felt fine this week. The Brazilian said she was around 117 pounds Thursday at media day and she made weight without a problem Friday morning.

"The weight cut has been fantastic," Andrade said through a translator. "This is probably the weight class that I should have been fighting in for a while."

Andrade (13-5) will take on Jessica Penne, a top strawweight, Saturday. She said she was eating whatever she wanted while fighting at 135 and not keeping to a strict enough diet. The time was right after a loss to Raquel Pennington at UFC 191 last September to make the move.

"Now I think I'm finally mature enough to do everything professionally," Andrade said. "The problem with fighting at the weight class above is I didn't have to be as professional. I didn't really have to worry about weight or anything."

Andrade, still just 24 years old, will have a tough first test in Penne, who is coming off a title shot against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. But she believes she'll be up to the challenge.

"One of the big problems I had in the [135-pound] weight class was I was just tiny," Andrade said. "Everyone else was just so much bigger than me. This weight class, I think it's gonna be the other way around. If I was able to throw around girls who are 135, I think it'll be pretty interesting."

It's the high life for Luke Rockhold

For this fight week, Luke Rockhold and his team rented a home in the Hollywood Hills. The mansion, which he showed off on Embedded, is incredible with a spiral staircase, gorgeous pool and view of Los Angeles.

The UFC middleweight champion, who defends the belt in the main event against Michael Bisping on Saturday night, believes there is more where that came from.

"Fulfill my dreams and retire a happy man," Rockhold said of his career goals. "I'm talking money, I'm talking being comfortable with what I have at the end of this game. I'm not content. I want everything in life. You live one life and I want to live the dream. I want everything. I want it all. I want a jet. I want houses. You want to live that dream. I want to be flying in the sky. Until I'm flying in the sky, I'm not happy."

He is close to achieving all those things. Rockhold said he is making seven figures for this fight and a big win over Bisping in LA increases his Q rating. Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson are the only two names ahead of Rockhold on the UFC's official pound-for-pound list. Rockhold has that level of confidence, too.

"I'm so far ahead of this game," Rockhold said. "I understand every technique and every situation. There's nobody that has the skillset that I have. I can beat you grappling, I can beat you wrestling, I can beat you standup. And I'm gonna threaten you in all those areas. Even if I don't fight you there, I'm gonna threaten you there. You're gonna have to think about that and I'm gonna open up another hole. There's nobody pound for pound that has what I have and works as hard as I work and has the heart and has the determination."

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