Is Nik Lentz on the verge of a breakout performance? Tell us below. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Nik Lentz has zero losses in seven UFC appearances, but his workmanlike performances haven’t generated much positive attention yet.
He expects that to change after his Dec. 10 matchup against Mark Bocek at UFC 140.
“To a degree, I would say people haven’t noticed how well I’ve been doing, but it just takes time,” Lentz told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “If it takes a little longer for people to realize that one day I’m going to be a contender and one day I’ll be right up there at the top, that’s fine with me.”
Despite his success, Lentz has received some criticism for not finishing fights. In response, he points to the level of his opponents.
“A lot of the not finishing fights has to do with number one, you get into the UFC, it’s a different level,” Lentz said. “… If you look at the guys I’ve fought, if you add them all together, they literally have been finished like a handful of times, and that was early in their careers. It’s not like I was put against easy people or I was getting first-time UFC guys. I was getting put in there with really good, really talented guys, and it took me a little while to adjust to that level.”
Lentz did get a finish in his most recent bout, submitting Waylon Lowe with a guillotine at UFC Fight Night 24. He predicts another finish against Bocek.
“I think I’m going to stop Mark Bocek,” Lentz said. “That’s another reason I think I’m going to start getting on the pay-per-view. I think we’re going to go in there and I think within a round or two, I’m going to stop him.”
At this point in his climb up the lightweight ranks, it’s important to Lentz that his fights get featured more often. Stopping a quality opponent like Bocek could make that happen.
“I think the main thing that beating Mark Bocek does is it’s another veteran that I’m going to beat,” Lentz said. “It’s someone that’s been around a long time, that has lots of skills, that isn’t easy to beat, and I’m going to beat him, and then that’s going to raise me up to that level to where it’s time to always put me on the pay-per-views.”
Lentz feels he turned some fans in his favor with his victory over Lowe, and he believes many more will soon follow. Of course, some may be holding a grudge against him for the debatable decision he won over Tyson Griffin last November, but Lentz thinks he’ll earn their support too eventually.
“Once I’m on the pay-per-views and fans start seeing me more and more, all the bad taste that people have acquired from the one fight, whether they think I didn’t beat Tyson [Griffin] or whatever, all that’s going to go away,” he said. “People are going to start really realizing that I belong in the hunt for the title.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:25:15).