Joe Lauzon’s tenure with the UFC dates back nearly 12 years. “J-Lau” has become a staple in the UFC lightweight division, a competitor that historically has been involved in some of the organization’s most memorable fights and all out wars. Tony Reid of MyMMANews.com recently caught up with fighter who began his legendary career with the UFC back at UFC 63 in 2006.
Tony Reid – You are a big fan of pro wrestling. I hear as a kid you used to reenact the pro wrestling moves on your trampoline.
Joe Lauzon – “I don’t watch it much anymore. I used to watch a ton of it when I was in high school. That is how it started. We started out power bombing and choke slamming each other then it became, well, don’t let me power bomb you. So we would try to avoid it. We would try to fight off the moves and it turned into a Jiu Jitsu match. So then some of my friends started doing Jiu Jitsu and triangle choking me. So I started doing Jiu Jitsu and choking them back. Then it snowballed from there for me.”
Tony Reid – We all know you have a degree in computer science and worked in tech support for a while. I have to ask, did you ever have a real life Fight Club moment?
Joe Lauzon – “I’m pretty easy going. Nothing gets under my skin and nothing really bothers me. No one at work knew what I did. I was training for a fight in the UFC and I had a bunch of local fights and I would come in to work with black eyes and scrapes on my face or whatever. People would ask what happened and I would just say I bumped into something. I would always downplay it. I never told them what I did. I graduated and I was fighting in the UFC. One of the guys from the office was a big UFC fan. He put two and two together. Then it spread like wildfire through the office. I don’t think I got anything done at work after that. People would stop in and ask “How do you do this? You let people punch you in the face? You choke people? You seem like such a nice guy. Why are you choking people?” These are all MIT professors and really smart computer science people. They are not the physical type. It was pretty crazy. Everyone talked to me differently after that. No one ever disrespected me but I was always just the network admin guy. It was not a big deal then after everyone found out I was a fighter I instantly became the coolest guy in the office overnight.”
Tony Reid – So before your fight in Las Vegas awhile back the security was heightened over the fight weekend. Is all that security really necessary with Joe Lauzon in town? I thought that Joe Lauzon could handle any terrorist organization single handedly.
Joe Lauzon – “I come into town and they get worried about all the crazy fans in attendance. I expected it though. This was a big deal for the UFC as a company. I’m not surprised by all the security. We are used to dealing with this stuff. They have a lot of extra security when they go to Brazil, too. Hand to hand I’m OK. I wouldn’t want to try to grapple with a suicide bomber or anything like that. I don’t think that would go so well for me.”
Tony Reid – With a record of 27-15, with seven Fight of the Nights, six Submission of the Nights and 1 Knockout of the Night, what Joe Lauzon fight are you most proud of?
Joe Lauzon – “No one fight really. I feel like all my fights are like my children. I love them all. Even the fights I have lost have taught me something and made me better in some way. Right now the Gomi fight is my new baby. That was a great fight and everyone loved how I stopped the fight myself. That is the current favorite because it’s so new but if you talk to me after my next win that will probably be the new favorite.”
Tony Reid – As a huge fight nerd who are your favorite fighters to watch and why?
Joe Lauzon – “I am a huge fight fan. I love watching Conor McGregor but I also love watching Jose Aldo. I can appreciate tons of different people. I love watching Thug Rose. I think she is awesome. She has good Jiu Jitsu. She has crazy, scrappy striking. She is one I love to watch. Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes are both awesome to watch. There are so many guys I love to watch. It’s just crazy.”
Tony Reid – When I ask other fighters that question, Frankie Edgar comes up three out of every four times. It’s pretty amazing.
Joe Lauzon – “The great thing about Frankie is that he’s such a great person. He’s a super good guy. He doesn’t talk trash. He just goes out there and fights and is respectful all the time. He is super tough. He is tough as nails. Things don’t always start off smoothly for him he’s gotten rocked early. Things happen and he keeps on coming back he keeps on fighting. He’s as tough as nails but at the same time he is super technical. He is a great wrestler. He has great boxing, great footwork, great Jiu Jitsu. He is just good everywhere. How can you not like a guy like that? You have to love a guy like that.”
Tony Reid – Speaking of fan favorites, you are right up at the top of the list yourself. How much stock do you put into being an exciting fighter and a fan favorite? Take us inside the mindset of your fight style.
Joe Lauzon – “I try to fight smart. I definitely take more risks than most but I’m not trying to fight super safe but I’m trying to fight smart and I think that a lot of times me going for something, me being a little aggressive catches people off guard and it works out in my favor. I want to put on the kind of fight that I would want to watch. I don’t want to have a fight of the night by punching and getting bloodied up every single time. It’s going to happen sometimes but I generally try to avoid that. My ideal fight is to go in there and take someone down and submit them really quick. That is my perfect kind of fight. Unfortunately I don’t get to dictate that outcome every single time but that’s what I try to do. I’m a little impatient, I’m pretty aggressive, pretty scrappy and those things lend themselves to me having good, exciting fights. No matter who I fight I think with my fighting style it’s going to be an exciting fight. I will have an exciting fight against just about anyone. But I’m not looking, I never set out, to get Fight of the Night. If I get Fight of the Night that means I’m getting beat up, too. We are not looking for that. We are looking for flawless victories. We want the Gomi fight every single time!”