FORTALEZA, Brazil — Brazilian bantamweight prospect Ricardo Ramos will collide with Said Nurmagomedov at UFC Fortaleza on Feb. 2, and he’s very honest when asked about his opponent’s skillset and hype.
Nurmagomedov, cousin of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, made his Octagon debut last July, defeating Justin Scoggins in a flyweight bout before moving up to 135 pounds. However, “Carcacinha” says all the hype around the Dagestani fighter is thanks to his family ties to the undefeated UFC star.
”I don’t think he’s that technical in the wrestling department, but he’s very aggressive and explosive, so he’s always successful with the takedowns,” Ramos told MMA Fighting. “I’ve worked some counters and defenses and analysed his entire game, so I’m ready for everything, as always. For this fight specifically, I’ve focused more on my ground game because that’s where I’m going to attack him.”
When he first heard about his UFC Fortaleza opponent, Ramos thought his style would be similar to Khabib’s, “but he fights more on the feet and is very unpredictable”.
”I believe I will take his back and submit him,” Ramos said. “That’s an opening I saw in his fights. He gives up his back a lot and opens that possibility. I saw many Brazilians fight him and have the opportunity to submit him but couldn’t get it done. He has good defense, too, but I’ve been working on my submissions a lot. I don’t waste opportunities.”
Unbeaten in three UFC appearances, including a knockout win over Aiemann Zahabi, younger brother of Tristar Gym head trainer Firas Zahabi, “Carcacinha” believes that beating another opponent with a famous surname might help him promotion-wise, ”but makes no difference in the fight”.
”Like some fans say, he’s Khabib’s cousin, but he’s no Khabib,” Ramos said. “People create a monster in their heads only because of that last name. I see a lot of people say I’m going to lose, that it’s a tough fight for me and whatever, but I’m cool. I know I will win this fight. I don’t create this monster inside my head.”
One of Ramos’ goals for 2019 is to be more active. After going 2-0 in the UFC in 2017, the Brazilian prospect only competed once in 2018 due to a hand injury.
”I wish I had fought more in the UFC,” Ramos said. “I have this fight now in February, and my goal is to fight as much as I can in 2019 to get to the title. My camp was great and I’m ready to fight this Russian.
”Kicking off the year with a fight is wonderful because you have plenty of time to fight more. I hope the UFC gives me more opportunities because I’m focused. I will become the champion of this division this year, so I will work to get that belt no matter who has it. I’ll get there and take it.”
It would be an incredible feat if Ramos can move up the ladder in a crowded division like bantamweight and conquer the UFC championship before the year’s end, especially after T.J. Dillashaw’s failed attempt to capture the flyweight gold in January and with contenders like Raphael Assuncao, Marlon Moraes, Cody Garbrandt, Pedro Munhoz and John Lineker lining up with the same goal.
It might be unlikely, but he grantees it’s possible.
”I believe the belt can come to Brazil this year,” Ramos said. “It all depends on my work, my numbers, of going there and showing what I can do. I’m sure that 2019 will be my year. I’ll show my true potential, put on great performances, and embrace every opportunity I have to get the belt.”