From the first time UFC lightweight Joe Lauzon stepped into the Octagon has known what itâ€™s like to be counted out before the bell sounds. A 22-year old serving as a stepping stone for returning champion Jens Pulver, â€œJ-Lauâ€ shocked the MMA community by leaving â€œLittle Evilâ€ in a heap before the first minute of the fight had even expired.
Lauzon found himself in a similar position again nearly five years to the day after his upset win over Pulver when facing Melvin Guillard this past Saturday night at UFC 136. Guillard, who had won five straight entering the bout and was seen as a possible contender for the title, was a 3:1 favorite over the Massachusetts native. However, similar to his showing in 2006, Lauzon wasnâ€™t intimidated and came away with an equally fast win.
The Ultimate Fighter 5 alumnus has since opened up about his â€œSubmission of the Nightâ€ finish of Guillard and credited his gameplan, as well as mindset in general, for the roles they played in bringing a victory home from Houston.
â€œHe is two entirely different fighters when heâ€™s coming forward versus when someone else is coming forward. We said basically no matter what, even if I was getting my butt beat, I was going to come forward. I couldnâ€™t ever, ever, ever start stepping backward and start letting him come forward,â€ Lauzon explained in a conversation with Sherdog. â€œI wasnâ€™t going to be intimidated. I wasnâ€™t going to be bullied. Regardless of what he threw at me, I was throwing back the entire time.â€
As dedicated as Lauzon was to successfully completing the challenge at hand, he also admitted he didnâ€™t feel as though Guillard shared the same level of focus and may have lost as a result of the mental lapse.
â€œI didnâ€™t feel like he was giving me the credit I deserved at all,â€ revealed Lauzon. â€œNot that I felt disrespected, but I thought that he took the fight way too lightly. He was at the Fan Expo. He was doing signings the day of the fight. He was running around calling himself the champ already. He was already talking about what he was going to do after he knocks me out. For me, I focus on the fight. I never, ever, ever want to talk about what Iâ€™m going to do after a fight because you just never know. For him to already be jumping to so many conclusions, I had a really, really good feeling and it got better and better with every day that passed.â€
Apparently his confidence was not the only thing improving on a daily basis â€“ Lauzon himself is too. The victory over Guillard improved his overall record to 21-6 with all of his wins involving some form of stoppage. It was his second consecutive instance of in-ring success and his sixth straight event-specific bonus.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC