Interview With UFC's Joe Lauzon

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Interview With UFC's Joe Lauzon

At 3:28 in the second of three rounds, Joe Lauzon’s six fight winning streak had ended. The vicious strikes from Kenny Florian left the referee no choice but to call the fight.

This TKO was Lauzon’s first loss since February of 2006. While this fight may have knocked him down, Lauzon got right back up. Working hard to gain back lost momentum in the UFC lightweight division, Lauzon stacked up two more victories in his next two fights.

Unfortunately, injuries have sidelined the up and coming Lauzon since his latest victory against Jeremy Stephens. Lauzon has had a history of problems with his knees. The Stephens fight added another chapter to that book.

Lauzon stated that he “basically had a torn ACL for a year and a half, two years.”

Shortly after the Stephens fight, it was obvious that his knee could not take much more, with Lauzon electing to have ACL surgery, along with having his meniscus repaired.

Lauzon has come to terms that this surgery could sideline him from any training in MMA until 2010, although he is pleased with the progression thus far. The surgery took place almost two months ago, yet Lauzon is already jumping boxes, jumping rope, and doing light jogging, and seems thrilled with how well the recovery is going.

According to Lauzon, the worst part of all this is being at his gym and not being able to demonstrate what needs to happen to his guys. He is at Lauzon MMA for about five hours each day, and all of his input and advice is verbal, which is something that frustrates him. However, one can imagine it is not nearly as frustrating as not being able to compete.

This UFC lightweight fighter was making waves in the division before this necessary, yet unfortunate surgery, which derailed the momentum he was working hard to gain back. While he is uncertain about how long the rehabilitation process may take, Lauzon is certain about one thing. He wants a rematch with Kenny Florian.

Unfortunately, a second bout between Lauzon and Florian will have to wait, at least until May 19, the date UFC 2009 Undisputed is set to hit the mainstream.

Joe Lauzon is one of the many fighters featured in the game, something he is “super-pumped” about.

When asked who his in-game character’s first fight would be against, Lauzon stated simply, “Kenny Florian,” giving him the rematch he is waiting for. Unfortunately, for now that rematch is limited to the Xbox 360.

Joe Lauzon’s knee surgery has set him back in the UFC lightweight division. When he will have his next fight is still anyone’s guess. Whenever that date may be, a healthy Joe Lauzon will be released back into the lightweight division, giving him the opportunity to battle his way to a title shot, or battle for his much desired rematch with the muay-thai master, Kenny Florian.

Until then, Lauzon will only be able to fight Kenny with his thumbs.

The full transcript of the interview is available below. To see Joe’s thoughts on the Silva-Griffin fight, his thoughts on having a Twitter, or  to get a more in-depth look at the progress Joe is having in the rehabilitation process, all that can be found below in this Inside Fights Interview.

Joe Lauzon Interview

 

Nate Lawson:

You are coming of a recent surgery that repaired your meniscus and took care of some ACL problems.

Joe Lauzon:

Yeah, I had ACL surgery and they repaired my meniscus. It was about two months ago almost.

Nate Lawson:

Could you explain why you chose to have this surgery done at this point?

Joe Lauzon:

I basically had a torn ACL for a year and a half, two years. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but my knee was always a little bit loose, so they said until I had problems with it, leave it alone. ACL surgery is kind of like a bee’s nest. I really don’t want to mess with it too much. So when I did hurt it, I did mess it up at some point in that fight because it did mess up my meniscus. I was limping around. When I tried to train with my leg, it completely locked up. It ended up being pretty good timing because it didn’t stop me from fighting, but it could have. If I had done it in training before the fight, there is no way I could have fought. I couldn’t bear weight on my legs for weeks. It was just a good time to get it done, get it over with, and take care of it.

Nate Lawson:

That did not affect you in the Jeremy Stephens fight, did it?

Joe Lauzon:

No, not really. I mean, like I said, I had a bad knee for a while. I had been training for that fight for a long time. The week after the fight I hadn’t trained at all because I had stitches in my head. As soon as I started warming up, moving around a little bit, my knee locked up. So something definitely happened during the fight.

Nate Lawson:

How is the recovery process going for you? Do you know when you will be able to start training in MMA again?

Joe Lauzon:

Recovery is going good. I think I’m ahead of schedule a little bit. You know, I’m jumping on boxes. they got me jogging. They got me jumping rope. I feel pretty good overall. As far as when I’ll be able to fight though, that will be a little while. They said probably another two or three weeks until I can do any kind of light training. So we’ll see how it goes when I actually get on the mats.

Nate Lawson:

It’s going a lot smoother and quicker than you anticipated?

Joe Lauzon:

Yeah. I had all kinds of horror stories about how your knee is never the same, and this and that. So far it feels great. When I first started, it was the biggest thing to lift my leg off the bed. But like I said, I’m running around. I’m jumping. I’m doing all that almost by myself. I’m pretty happy how it’s felt.

Nate Lawson:                                                                                                                                           

Can you explain what a normal day involves for you during the rehabilitation process?

Joe Lauzon:

Right now I’m not doing a whole lot. I’m usually up around 9 o’clock, grab some breakfast. Do whatever I need to do around the house. We do have boxing from 10:30 to noon, so I haven’t been actually doing the workouts, but I’ve been going, hanging out with the guys. And then there is a grapple class from 12:00 to 1:00. I hang out for that. Then I go to rehab, usually around three or four.  I do that for an hour and a half, two hours, and then I’m back at the gym at night from 6:30 to 9:00, 6:30 to 9:30. Something like that.

Nate Lawson:

Do you have any kind of timeline as when you think you will finally be able to step back into an octagon and even just spar and grapple?

Joe Lauzon:

It’s probably going to be the spring. But I would like to try and get in maybe before the end of the year. I’m only two months out now, so who knows how it’s going to be in 5 or 6 months.

Nate Lawson:

Is it frustrating for you knowing that other guys are fighting and still competing? Do you feel like it’s hard to watch everyone else do what they do for a living, but you have to wait until your injuries heal?

Joe Lauzon:

The toughest thing is going to my gym and seeing guys train, and not being able to help them with things. Not being able to do things. I know what to do, but I physically can’t do it. It’s kind of tough to go in there and try to talk people through things, without being able to just jump in there and do it. I think that’s the toughest part.

Nate Lawson:

On a different note, Kenny Florian is going to get a title shot against B.J. Penn at UFC 101. What are your thoughts on this fight. Do you think Kenny’s got a shot to upset B.J.?

Joe Lauzon:

I fought Kenny. I trained with B.J. I think B.J. is better all the way around. Kenny’s got the better cardio probably. I think B.J.’s got better jiu-jitsu, better striking, and wrestling. I think he is stronger. I think it’s going to be a real tough fight for Kenny.

Nate Lawson:

Along those lines, if you got to choose either of those fighters to fight, would you rather fight B.J. Penn, your former training partner, or would you rather get a rematch with Kenny Florian?

Joe Lauzon:

Definitely would rather have a rematch with Kenny.

Nate Lawson:

What do you see happening in the lightweight division in the next few years? Do you see anyone really taking the belt away from B.J. in 2009 or 2010?

Joe Lauzon:

I think B.J.’s super dominant at 155. At 155 I really don’t see anyone stopping him. He’s been a little ambitious and it hasn’t always worked out for him so well (referring to the Georges St. Pierre fight). At 155 I really don’t see anyone stopping him. It’s a fight, anything can happen, but I really don’t see anyone knocking B.J. off.

Nate Lawson:

You had to fight Jeremy Stephens because Hermes Franca had to drop out of the fight. Franca was talking a lot of trash before that fight. I imagine you were disappointed in not being able to show him what you have going, and try to beat him in a fight. Are you really looking to get a chance to fight him at some point?

Joe Lauzon:

Yeah, that’s definitely a fight I would like. It’s funny because when we heard that Hermes pulled out, I was like, “well that was a pretty terrible move.” One of my coaches said, “well it could have been your knees. You could have been the one needing ACL surgery.” And I do the fight, and a week later I needed ACL surgery. The whole entire thing was weird. I think Hermes had his surgery a couple weeks before me. I think me and Hermes will bump into one another at some point.

Nate Lawson:

You are having a chance to look back at your career right now. Where do you feel you are at in the lightweight division? Do you feel like you are anywhere close to a title shot, or do you feel like winning is the most important thing right now for you?

Joe Lauzon:

Winning is the most important thing. I had a lot of momentum before the Kenny fight, and I lost a little bit. I still think I was fighting up a little bit. I thought Kenny was ranked higher than me, for sure, so it wasn’t the end of the world. I had two more fights, but now I’m sidelined, so that’s going to take away a little bit. I think I’m working towards the top, but I’m still in the middle of the pack with everyone else.

Nate Lawson:

You train out of your own gym, Lauzon MMA. How does your camp compare so far to the very well known gyms like Xtreme Couture, etc? What steps are you guys taking in order to become one of the elite gyms on the East Coast and in America altogether?

Joe Lauzon:

I think every gym is going to have a different dynamic. It is about who’s in there, but it’s all about the dynamic of the gym. I would much rather be at my gym where I have control over things. I can go out and find great wrestlers. I can find people with great jiu-jitsu. I can find great boxers. I can find all those different pieces. I would rather be here than in a place like Xtreme Couture. I know you have ten guys training out of the same weight class all out of the same building. Same partners. Same everything. I like the way I do it better. I’m splitting it up a little more than training with the best MMA guys. I have great training partners. My brother is awesome. Our team is super close, too.  It’s terrific dynamic.

Nate Lawson:

As a professional fighter in the UFC, I was just looking to get your take on UFC 97, the Silva-Leites fight. A lot of people were disappointed in that fight. I was just wondering what your thoughts on that fight were. Were you disappointed, bored, or did you actually get something out of that fight?

Joe Lauzon:

As a fan I was a little bit disappointed. People want to see two guys going at it. They want to see the guys trading more. They want to see more ground work, things like that.  As a fighter, I can see exactly why it happened. You have a guy with superior ground, not wanting to fight on the feet, and you have a guy who has superior stand up, not wanting to fight on the ground. Neither guy was going to sacrifice where they wanted to fight, or sacrifice their game plan. It ended up not being a very exciting match, but that’s how it works out sometimes.

Nate Lawson:

On that same note, Dana White and Joe Silva have decided to give Anderson Silva a little more of a challenge. He is scheduled to fight Forrest Griffin at an upcoming UFC event. What are your thoughts on that fight?

Joe Lauzon:

I think that is going to be an awesome fight. I went up to Montreal for UFC 97, and when we were driving home we were talking like, “dude, what do you do with Anderson Silva now? Two kind of boring fights lately. It’s like, what do you do?” He lost a lot of the hype behind him. He goes from destroying Rich Franklin and looking so dominant, to having two not very exciting fights. I said that the perfect guy for him would be Forrest Griffin. That was the one name we mentioned, but I’m super pumped that fight. I think it is going to be an awesome fight. I think Anderson is more technical, but Forrest has got the raw horsepower. He just goes, and goes, and goes, and goes. He’s bigger. He’s got cardio for days. I think it’s going to be an awesome fight.

Nate Lawson:

People will actually be able to see you fight in the octagon in about a month. Unfortunately, it’s not an actual fight. I’m talking about UFC 2009 Undisputed. How pumped are you for that?

Joe Lauzon:

Oh, I’m super pumped. I cannot get a copy of that game fast enough.

Nate Lawson:

Have you tried out the demo yet?

Joe Lauzon:

Yeah. Me and a bunch of my buddies were playing the demo. That game is awesome. It’s so deep. I thought it was going to be a button mashing game a little bit, but it’s actually pretty cool. You know, I think the demo’s awesome. I can’t wait to play as myself.

Nate Lawson:

How do you feel about being in that game?

Joe Lauzon:

Oh, that’s  awesome. I think when I first fought in the UFC, my friends were like, “Oh you made it to the UFC.” I jokingly said, “ When I make it in a video game, then I’ll have made it.” I think it is cool. I play tons of video games, so it’s pretty sweet to see myself in a game.

Nate Lawson:

I’m assuming you are going to play as yourself a decent amount of time in the game. Who do you think your first fight is going to be against in that game? Who are you going to test your character out against?

Joe Lauzon:

Kenny Florian! I’ll probably end up making my own character. I’ll make the real Joe Lauzon, and do create a character and all that.

Nate Lawson:

Are there any fighters you want to play with in that game. Maybe play as a light heavyweight or heavyweight just to see what the punching is about?

Joe Lauzon:

Yeah, I think all the guys are going to be fun. I think playing as Couture would be fun. Brock Lesnar. Actually, Couture’s not in the game, so I guess I won’t be playing as Couture. But Brock Lesnar. St.Pierre is going to be fun. B.J. is going to be fun. I’m sure I’ll play as Kenny, just kick the crap out of everyone. Sean Sherk. There are so many good guys that are in the game. It’ll be fun to use their game instead of my own.

Nate Lawson:

There is a career mode in that obviously. Which do you think is going to happen first: You win the lightweight belt on the XBOX 360, or in real life?

Joe Lauzon:

I’ll definitely have the belt on the XBOX a lot before I’m training.

Nate Lawson:

A lot of UFC fighters have really taken on to the Twitter fad, and I noticed that you have one as well. How do you feel using that, where you are able to let your fans know what is going on in the life of Joe Lauzon?

Joe Lauzon:

I think Twitter is pretty cool. I originally set it up because I set up my website with Word Press so I could post articles and I could actually post comments, things like that. And I couldn’t talk to my Facebook with Wordpress, but I could talk to Twitter, and I could have Twitter talk to Facebook. So I kind of set it up like a medium, like a middleman.  But I like it a lot now that I have started using it. It’s awesome for fan interaction. It’s nice that the messages have to be short. A lot of times I get E-mails and things like that, and someone asking me 15 questions. They’re writing me a novel. They expect me to put as much effort into a reply. It’s just tough sometimes, the sheer volume. With Twitter, it’s a quick message to me. I get to give them a quick message back. It’s quick and it’s pretty good.

Nate Lawson:

At this point is there anything you would like to add, anything you want to say to your fans, or to anyone in general?

Joe Lauzon:

Just thanks for the support, from my coaches, my trainers, all my guys at my gym, all the fans. Check out my website, joelauzon.com

__________________________________________

Original Article available at http://insidefights.com/2009/05/01/inside-fights-interview-joe-lauzon/.

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