When referencing some of the most shocking upsets in the UFC, Joe Lauzon‘s first round of knockout of Jens Pulver springs to mind quickly. Back in 2006 at UFC 63, Lauzon came into the fight with Pulver facing lopsided 7-to-1 odds. Lauzon was essentially brought in as the young fighter that Pulver would destroy in his UFC comeback. No one gave Lauzon a chance. Facing tremendous adversity, Lauzon silenced the critics by decisively dominating Pulver and putting him to sleep with a textbook left hook.
Fast forward three years. Lauzon has enjoyed a highly successful run in the UFC after a stint on The Ultimate Fighter reality series. He has amassed five wins in six fights, with his lone loss coming at the hands of the number one lightweight title contender Kenny Florian.
Adversity has since reared its head again. For the past few months, Lauzon has been sidelined with a recurring knee injury. A recent surgery was performed to repair the damage and Lauzon is well on track for his long recovery. Barring any setbacks, Lauzon should be back in the Octagon sometime in 2010. With a freshly repaired knee and confidence intact, Lauzon continues to fight and beat the type of adversity that made him a household name overnight.
FiveOuncesofPain.com recently got the opportunity to talk to Lauzon about his knee surgery, his appearance in the new UFC video game, thoughts on the “Grease-gate” scandal, as well as all other things MMA.
Dustin Zuch for FiveOuncesOfPain.com: I understand you’ve had some recent surgery on your knee. Give us a quick summary on the medical procedure you had done and how your recovery is going.
Joe Lauzon: I’d been dealing with a torn ACL for a while. Usually when people have torn ACL’s, they have problems with their knee giving out and slipping. Mine was holding together pretty well but it was apparently damaging the meniscus, which is like the padding, in my knee. It got to the point where the meniscus was jamming up my knee and I couldn’t bend my leg. My knee was sore after my last fight, and then the first time I tried to warm up to train it locked and would not move.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: In your last fight against Jeremy Stephens you got a nice gash on your forehead. Were you ever in any sort of fear that the cut would bleed bad enough for the ref to halt the bout?
Joe Lauzon: I knew the cut wasn’t in a bad spot. It wasn’t affecting my vision at all and I knew it was just something I had to deal with but didn’t want to make the same mistake as the Kenny Florian fight and rush things.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Before your bout with Jeremy Stephens you were set to take on Hermes Franca but he was forced to pull out with an injury. Some less than friendly verbal exchanges occured between you two occured shortly thereafter. What were the exchanges about and are you hoping the UFC reschedules that fight for your return?
Joe Lauzon: I would like to see the fight, but I’m not dying for it like I was before. I think he made some inappropriate comments that maybe were meant to come across as joking but I didn’t find funny. If it happens, its going to be the battle of new ACLs.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Speaking of upcoming bouts, anyone else in particular you hope the UFC matches you up with in your foreseeable future?
Joe Lauzon: I will fight whoever they want me to fight. we usually don’t have a lot of options in that regard, so you just need to be ready for whoever.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Your trainer and mentor, B.J. Penn, has recently been the talk of the media with the “Grease-gate” scandal against Georges St. Pierre. While most agree with B.J’s frustration, most also feel that he is only hurting himself by continuing to push the allegations. What are your thoughts on the situation?
Joe Lauzon: I think its a weird situation to me. It seems like people are saying, “Well BJ didn’t look good in the first anyways and was going to lose regardless, so a little grease didn’t change anything.” Thats like me fighting someone that tested positive for steroids and then the commission comes back and says “Well he was going to be stronger than you anyways, its not a big deal”. I think if its illegal, it’s illegal and you should face the consequences. I think they clearly rubbed vaseline on GSP and something should be done. Not necessarily turn over the fight, but do something. Not just say “Too bad BJ, you were going to lose anyways”. I am really baffled by the whole thing.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Prior to becoming a full-time fighter, you were an IT Network Administrator with a company in the Boston area. How has the switch had an effect on your health and overall daily life? Can you see yourself making the venture back to IT once you retire from fighting?
Joe Lauzon: Since I made the switch, I am able to put a lot more time into training. I am much more durable and had put on a lot of muscle. Before I quit my job, it was tough to find the time to do everything. I pretty much put all of my time into skill work and not so much strength work and things like that. Now that I have the time, I can do a lot more to better myself as a whole. I don’t think I will go back to IT, but its nice knowing I could if I wanted to. I got a Computer Science degree so I will always have options, I would just need to take a few refresher courses.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Your school, Lauzon MMA, was once known as Reality Self Defense and under the ownership of your good friend and longtime trainer, Joe Pomfret. How has you taking ownership and the name change affected the success of the school? Did you notice an influx in students once you changed the name?
Joe Lauzon: The official name is Lauzon MMA, but we still refer to it as RSD. It was RSD for like 8 years, a new sign isn’t going to change anything to us. Ever since I went on TUF, we had a good influx of new students. Since we changed the name though, we have had a lot more people coming in. The school was always successful, but its definitely doing better now.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Congratulations on getting a spot in the new UFC Undisputed video game. Tell us a bit about the screening process involved with getting your character into the game and your general thoughts on the upcoming release.
Joe Lauzon: I think the game is going to be awesome! I played the demo and its way better than I anticipated. I don’t know how the screening process really went. I know they scanned around 200 people for the game and around 90 made it in. It was pretty cool how they scan you. They basically have you stand on a little platform and this huge circular track moves up and down your body while you stay still. It took less than a minute and they showed me the scan afterwards. I’m going to have some epic ears in this game.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: In regards to video games, you are reportedly an avid Xbox 360 player (especially since your recent surgery). What games can we expect Joe Lauzon to be playing on a regular basis?
Joe Lauzon: I have been playing a lot of Call of Duty: World at War. I’d say thats the game I play the most. We were on a huge Gears of War 2 kick for a while and we pop in Left 4 Dead a lot too. You can never go wrong killing zombies.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: The overhaul you did on your website looks fantastic. Discuss why you think it’s important to have a personal website to market yourself and connect with fans, sponsors, and others.
Joe Lauzon: I liked the look and feel of my website before, but it didn’t have the interaction that I wanted. I would post things and people would comment them on my facebook, on my myspace, etc. I am trying to push people to comment more on my site instead. What ends up happening is the same questions get asked over and over and I have to answer them to everyone individually. This way I can answer something once in a comment and everyone gets filled in. On top of that, I just like interacting with fans. When I started training I was watching the UFC and just a fan too. I never could have imagined I would make it this far… I don’t think I was even trying. I know I would really appreciate interacting with big name fighters though.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: You were among the guests at Dana White’s private St. Patty’s Day party here in Boston. How was the party? Did House of Pain throw it down good?
Joe Lauzon: House of Pain definitely threw it down. I took some video and put it on my YouTube channel, you can find a link on my homepage (http://www.joelauzon.com). It was an awesome party and its always a good time with Dana.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Let’s play a bit of UFC Fantasy here. Pick the winner of the following upcoming fights: Rashad Evans/Lyoto Machida, Brock Lesnar/Frank Mir, and B.J. Penn/Kenny Florian.
Joe Lauzon: Rashad, Mir, B.J.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Thanks again for sitting down to talk with us. Any plugs to your sponsors or thanks you’d like to throw out there?
Joe Lauzon: Always a big thanks to Sprawl Fight Shorts and MMAWarehouse. Also, check out my website at http://www.joelauzon.com. Register and comment on my blogs!