Lauzon discusses Florian loss, Guillard win, Twitter
The next two years would bring both success and adversity for Joe Lauzon. After a stint on TUF, he went on to win his next two fights in the UFC before running into perennial contender Kenny Florian. Lauzon lost the fight and received plenty of criticism after the fight – all of which he listened to and took to heart.
“I’ve absolutely heard all the things people say about me. People have said if I’m facing a guy I’m a little bit better than, I would make them look terrible and absolutely smash them. But as soon as I fought someone who was better than me, I totally crumbled. They would say I didn’t have the gas tank or didn’t have what it takes. I never let that stuff bother me. I would read about it and live with it. I know what I have and what I don’t but I also know how hard I train.
“As far as the gas tank criticism goes? I’ve only been tired in three fights. Broomfield, Colorado was one, but everyone on that card with the exception of Gray and Frankie gassed in their fights. Against Sam Stout at UFC 108, I had ACL surgery less than 10 months before the fight and I tried to rush it. I had this vision in my head about coming back from the surgery in record time, winning the fight and adding an amazing chapter in my career. I definitely rushed it and things didn’t work out. The third time came against George Sotiropoulos. We screwed up with the hydration and all that other stuff. It gave people a reason to call my cardio suspect but I know I have good cardio.
“I do tons and tons of rounds, always against fresh guys and I never have a problem getting through them. But a lot of people seem to think I have no gas tank and don’t train hard. I joke online all the time about playing video games and people legitimately think I don’t do anything but play Xbox for 10-12 hours a day. They think I don’t go to the gym and that’s craziness. I work hard because there are always things I can improve on. I’m not the best boxer. I’m not the best wrestler. I’m not the best jiujitsu guy. I can pick any one of those areas and work my hardest to improve on them.”
Lauzon would bounce back from the loss to Florian, but fell into a give and take pattern. He looked sharp in wins over Kyle Bradley and Jeremy Stephens, but losses to Sam Stout and George Sotiropoulos kept him in the gatekeeper realm. The MMA world was ready to push Lauzon into obscurity.
When he was called out by hard-charging contender Melvin Guillard, most assumed it would be the nail in the coffin for Lauzon’s career as a potential contender. He disagreed, accepted the challenge and once again shocked the world in proper Lauzon fashion.
“I’m very good at breaking things down and getting a feel for fighters as both fighters and people. I’m also good at analyzing game plans and figuring out how to beat them. For Melvin, we knew how to beat him. If you start backing up he comes on like a train and runs you over. If you come forward, he’s a totally different fighter. He has five or six things he likes to throw, throws them at random and he’s so quick it’s hard to stop. Melvin gets by on his quickness and we knew if we could negate his speed, predict a bit of what he was going to throw, it would be an easy fight.
“Of course, it’s easy for me to say that now, after the fact, because it wasn’t an easy fight. But game-plan wise, it was. We knew exactly what we were going to do and there was no question how we were going to approach the fight. It just so happens I went out there and did it. He jumped into a punch and that was that.”
It only took him 47 seconds to leave Guillard in shambles. In less than one minute Lauzon went from the guy who folds under the glare of the big lights to being in the mix of a highly competitive lightweight division.
“MMA fans are very hot and cold. They can be a fickle bunch. Before Houston everyone on The Underground was talking about how Melvin was going to knock me out and smash me, but after I win they are saying I should fight for a title. I’m sitting here like, ‘What are you guys talking about? How about somewhere in the middle?’ Let’s try to be a little more honest and fair. But that is the way it goes in MMA.”