"I went into a little depression for a few days," he admitted. "I was going through all this training and everything, and it's out the window, all for nothing. It just kind of left me wondering why Iím getting passed over so much. Itís a little disheartening, you know?"

Lamas (13-2) later received a call from UFC president Dana White apologizing for the manner in which the announcement was made, and telling him to remain ready for his chance. (He also promised him his purse even he did not fight.) Taken aback by the surprise phone call, Lamas didn't take the opportunity to plead his own case, but he later asked matchmaker Sean Shelby for the winner of the Aldo-Jung match.

The UFC couldn't promise him that, leading him to wonder what might be next. To him, the title shot makes the most sense, far more than a possible rematch with Cub Swanson, who he defeated via arm triangle in Nov. 2011. There has been a recent groundswell of support for Swanson, who's won five straight, but Lamas doesn't see any reason for a fight between them.

"I could see if maybe I lost since I fought him, but since fighting him I beat two guys who were promised title fights," he said. "I don't know any other 145-pound contender who has done that. Cub hasnít done it, Frankie hasn't done it, Chad [Mendes] hasnít done it. So, really, in my mind, Iím the No. 1 contender and I think I deserve a shot at the title."

It's not an all-or-nothing proposition. He knows what he wants, but he's willing to fight again to prove once and for all that he's the legitimate top contender.

Until then, he'll see how Aldo-Jung plays out, and he'll be in the gym working hard. He expects Aldo to emerge with the win at UFC 163, but believes Jung could pose some problems if he continues walking Aldo down, as he's done to most of his opponents.

Honestly, he wants to be the man to end Aldo's lengthy reign at the top. In his mind, he says, Aldo is "the king," and Lamas can be at peace with taking the long, hard road as long as it leads to a chance to claim his ultimate prize.

"I just want to say, a lot of people don't know about me as a fighter, a lot of people have counted me out of pretty much all of my fights, against Cub, against Hatsu, against Erik, and I've surprised everyone," he said. "And if they give me the shot against Jose Aldo Iíll surprise everybody again."