UFC Lightweight Joe Lauzon started training in martial arts during his junior year of high school, and that would launch the career of the one of the most exciting lightweights to ever fight in the octagon. To this day, the only other person in the UFC who has as many ‘Fight Night’ bonuses as he does is former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. While completing college, Lauzon formally began his MMA career when he took his first amateur bout in 2002, and two years later he would kick off his busiest year to date and the beginning of his professional career.
In February of 2004 Lauzon would win his debut with a first round submission, and by the end of the year he would have a perfect record of 7-0. All of the bouts took place in his home state of Massachusetts, and all of them would be submission wins. One of those wins would include a third round rear naked choke win over future WEC Lightweight Champion Mike Brown. Although Lauzon would win his first bout in 2005, another submission win, the rest of 2005 would be a rougher year. Lauzon would end the the year with a record of 10-2 with the losses coming from Jorge Masvidal and Ivan Menjivar. Two fighters who would eventually fight in the UFC as well.
Lauzon’s 2006 came in like a lamb, but he went out like a lion. Lauzon would drop his first bout of the year to Raphael Assuncao, another future UFC lightweight, but on April 1 he would enter a one night tournament that would end with him getting 3 first round wins and become the WFL Grand Prix Champion. After the win, Lauzon would be invited to fight at UFC 63 against former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver. Pulver was a 7-1 favorite going into the fight as he already had a storied MMA career going with major wins in the UFC and in Pride. However, Lauzon would shock the world when he tattooed Pulver with a right hand 48 seconds into the bout to pick up his first of many UFC bonuses for knockout of the night and UFC win. The win would earn Lauzon a ticket to The Ultimate Fighter season 5 cast.
Lauzon would end up in an awkward situation when he entered the TUF house. The coaches of the season were former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion BJ Penn and Pulver. Not only would he be the only person in the house with a UFC win, but the one win came by way of a first minute knockout over the opposing teams coach. Lauzon would make it all the way to the semi finals where he would lose to Manny Gamburyan. Although these bouts don’t go on his official record, this was Lauzon’s first time ever having a fight decided by the judges. Lauzon would fight for the second time in the UFC at The Ultimate Fighter 5 finales against Brandon Melendez, and again Lauzon would pick up the win and second fight night bonus for Submission of the night. His last fight of 2007 would be against Jason Reinhardt, but Lauzon would make quick work of him and get the win via rear naked choke in the second minute of the fight.
Lauzon’s first fight of 2008 would be against future number 1 contender Kenny Florian in the main event at UFC Fight Night 13. The bout went back and forth until the closing minutes of the second round when Florian was able to overwhelm Lauzon with strikes to hand him his first UFC loss. The edge was taken off the loss some when UFC President Dana White announced that Lauzon and Florian had won the bonus for fight of the night. Lauzon would get back in the winning column a few months later with a technical knockout win over Kyle Bradley. Lauzon would only fight once in 2009. He was scheduled to fight former WEC champion Hermes Franca in the main event of UFC Fight Night 17, but Jeremy Stephens stepped in as a late replacement when France stepped out of the main event with an injury. Lauzon would pick up the W, and another submission of the night award.
Joe Lauzon Highlights through 2009, Courtesy of Layzie the Savage:
Lauzon would fight 5 times in 2010 and 2011, and in all five fights he would walk out with bonus money, but 2010 would be a rough year. He kicked of the year with a fight against Sam Stout, and for the first time in his professional career the bout went to the judges. The judges gave the bout to Stout unanimously and the scrap earned them fight of the night bonuses. After picking up a submission win over Gabe Ruediger, and a bonus, Lauzon made a quick turn around and took George Sotiropoulos. For the first time in his UFC career Lauzon lost by submission, but the bout would earn them both bonuses for fight of the night. Lauzon would go undefeated in 2011 with first round submissions over Curt Warburton and Melvin Guillard, and he would pick up submission of the night bonuses in both fights.
Lauzon was then tapped to fight current UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 144 in Japan. Pettis would land a head kick early in the fight and finish him strikes 1:21 into round 1. He next took on former WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner on UFC On FOX. The two would go back and forth for 3 rounds but in the third round Lauzon picked up the win via triangle choke. The win would earn Lauzon two bonuses, one for submissions of the night and one for fight of the night. Several media outlets named this fight the fight of the year for 2012 while other media outlets named his next fight against Jim Miller fight of the year. Lauzon faced Miller at UFC 155, and it was Miller who picked up the unanimous decision win, but they both took home fight of night bonuses. This would be Lauzon’s 12th bonus.
Lauzon took on Michael Johnson at UFC Fight Night 26, but it was Johnson who picked up the decision to hand him his second straight loss. For the first time in his career Lauzon will look to rebound from two straight losses, and he will do so against Mac Danzig at UFC On FOX 9 this Saturday Night.
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