Mounir Lazzez hopes statement win over David Zawada leads to bigger fights

Mounir Lazzez may not have gotten the names he called for, but he’s happy to continue proving that he’s a legitimate threat at 170 pounds.

After his big upset win over Abdul Razak Alhassan in his promotional debut in July, Lazzez wanted to keep his momentum going by calling out the likes of Mike Perry and Niko Price.

Instead, he drew David Zawada at the UFC’s Oct. 17 event at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, but Lazzez (10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is looking at it as an opportunity to continue his ascent up the rankings.

“No, not disappointed at all,” Lazzez told MMA Junkie on the matchup. “This is the path that the UFC believes gets me on track to making a run for the belt, so I am going to go through whomever they put in front of me until I can hopefully become a contender for the belt – that is the objective. I thought I was calling out people in the middle of the standings of the welterweight division. I wasn’t being too ambitious.

“The first name I received was actually far bigger than both the names I called out, and on the biggest fight card of the year. The name I got was a top 10, but unfortunately that fight didn’t materialize. I am happy the UFC sees the potential in me with such offers, but it is up to me to keep showing what I got so that my plans and the UFC’s plans materialize and I get the bigger fights eventually.”

Zawada (17-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) is coming off an upset win of his own, when he earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus for submitting Abubakar Nurmagomedov in the first round last November at UFC on ESPN+ 21 in Moscow.

But “The Sniper” is expecting to shine and produce another standout performance next month.

“Much respect to him, he is strong and tough but standup is sloppy and ground game is basic,” Lazzez said. “It will be target practice and an opportunity to show more of my wide array of arsenal of skills. He is coming off a big win, and so am I. It is time for me to take that step up the pyramid.”

The narrative has changed for Lazzez, where after being a big underdog in his UFC debut, he now has high expectations against Zawada. Lazzez has aspirations of being a future contender, but still thinks he has a lot to prove.

“I can’t pay any attention to that; it would affect my preparation,” Lazzez said. “I am training for the best David Zawada possible, and I expect nothing less from him, as I am sure he expects nothing less from me. Favorite or not, I go in there to be better than my previous fight and to prove to everyone that I am truly a fighter on the up in the UFC. I still need to prove it, every time. I can’t slow down, and I won’t allow for these opinions to hinder my mindset or training.

“I am confident in my preparation and my team’s effort, along with the support of my fellow colleagues, the fighters from this region. I don’t see anything except a win. Zawada will endure a lot of damage in this fight and the ground will not be his safe haven. Once everyone notices things aren’t going well for him everywhere, Dan Hardy is going to scream ‘Stop the fight,’ again.”

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