Lando Vannata will not be getting the Jim Miller fight he wanted, so now he is asking for Nik Lentz at International Fight Week.
The “Groovy” one, fresh off a week of skydiving, touched down on the Pull No Punches podcast with former UFC fighter Kajan Johnson and Bloody Elbow’s Shakiel Mahjouri. Vannata (10-3-2) revealed he has asked the UFC for a fight with Nik Lentz at the promotion’s International Fight Week in July.
Vannata called out Jim Miller after his win over Marcos Rosa Mariano at UFC 234, but it was not meant to be.
“Unfortunately I guess he was already booked for another fight that got announced two weeks after my fight. Now I’m trying to get Nik Lentz for International Fight Week,” the lightweight fighter said. “I watched him and Scott Holtzman. He has a decent name and he is a great fighter. I think that would be an awesome, awesome fight. Really fun... That is what my sights are aimed on.”
Johnson praised Vannata for his respectful call-out of Miller and asked his guest why respect is so hard to come by in modern MMA.
“You gotta blame the fans for that one. I feel like there was respect there for a little bit and then the McGregor era came in play,” Vannata argued. “The UFC exploded. McGregor exploded. Everyone fell in love with the trash talking and the confrontation.”
“I came into the UFC when McGregor was becoming a big star. When I came in that’s what I thought, ‘let’s talk some s—t.’ That’s the way to go. I was a bit of a douchebag when I came it,” he confessed. “I would talk s—t and stay stupid stuff, but that isn’t who I am so I slowly came out of it. Unfortunately, the society we live in and a good portion of the fan base really enjoy this drama.”
Vannata has had a rough stretch in the UFC. He nearly upset Tony Ferguson in his short-notice debut in 2016 and went on a lackluster 1-3-2 run in his first six fights. Some claimed the Mariano fight was the UFC’s way of giving Vannata an easy win. Vannata candidly said he did not deserve a high caliber opponent.
“I was coming off two losses and two draws. It is not like I deserved high-profile fights,” he admitted. “I deserved bottom of the barrel opponents... Not to say Mariano does not have a good skill set... it’s not like he was some bum they threw at me.”
No fights have been booked yet for International Fight Week, with UFC 239 set for July 6th in Las Vegas, Nevada.