Newly minted EFC heavyweight champion Jared Vanderaa has revealed he was tipped off about Dalcha Lungiambula’s UFC call-up a while back.
On Thursday it was announced that Lungiambula (9-1) had signed a four-fight deal with the Las Vegas-based promotion.
In the process his EFC heavyweight belt passed over to interim champ Vanderaa (8-3), while the light heavyweight strap is now vacant.
Vanderaa, who trains at Team Quest in the US, says he knew ‘Champion’ was heading towards a bigger stage, one he hopes to soon share.
“Wasn’t ‘new’ news to me; I had a reliable source share the UFC’s interest in Dalcha, so I knew it was only a matter of time,” Vanderaa tells mmaengage.com.
“Congrats to him; hope to see him sooner rather than later. I saw myself as the undisputed heavyweight champion after beating [Ruan] Potts [in December].
“Dalcha had no intentions of coming back up anymore so the feeling is no different, and it feels great to represent [the EFC] well for the South African fans.”
The American derives great motivation from Lungiambula’s achievement, and feels he could follow suit with a third straight win over Ricky Misholas (7-7) at Pretoria’s Time Square on March 16.
“Very [motivating]; it’s been a goal of mine for a while now. It shows the value the UFC has placed on the EFC. With another title defense I would expect to be right there with him.”
Vanderaa will meet Misholas in the co-main event of EFC 77, which is headlined by a lightweight title fight between Martin van Staden (26-11) and Joe Cummins (5-1).