Joe Lauzon didn't have your typical Ultimate Fighting Championship debut. He was brought in originally to take on the former UFC lightweight champion JensPulver in what was supposed to be Pulver's big return to the UFC. Lauzon had other plans though and pulled the upset of the year, knocking Pulver out in 48 seconds.
He then went onto The Ultimate Fighter reality show, where he came up short in the semi-finals. He then went on to defeat fellow cast member BrandonMelendez on the Ultimate Fighter finale by triangle choke. Keeping the success going, he subsequently submitted Jason Reinhardt.
Following that bout, Lauzon was tapped for main event status to take on top lightweight contender Kenny Florian in Denver. Both fighters had an intense first round of action in the fight with many transitions. In the second round, Florian took control and was able to finish Lauzon with punches and elbows.
Now "J-Lau" is looking to get back to his winning ways when he takes on KyleBradley on Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 15 in Omaha, Neb. "I'm definitely excited," Lauzon said confidently. "I want to erase that last one."
The one stigma that seems to be lingering from the UFC Fight Night in Colorado is how bad the altitude affected so many fighters. If there's anything Lauzon has taken from the last fight, it's that no matter how hard you train, you can't always expect the same results. "No matter how prepared you think you may be, it's not always the case. I thought I was doing okay with the altitude. It kicked me in the ass. I thought I'd get there early. I'd sleep in an altitude tent. It still wasn't enough."
Cardio has never been a problem for the Massachusetts native, but he wants to come out in his next fight and prove that he can really press forward an entire fight with no problem. "The last thing I want in this fight to be tired at all," he said. "I want to go out and show everyone that I am in shape and I can push a much harder pace than I showed."
Bradley recently made his Octagon debut at UFC 81 where he lost to ChrisLytle in less than a minute. However, he was fighting against a seasoned veteran and a weight class above where he's comfortable. Bradley and Lauzon aren't exactly strangers to each other either. They've known each other for quite some time and are actually quite friendly to one another.
"Kyle is good. I've known Kyle for years from the Underground," explained Lauzon. "It was kind of funny. Before we both made it to the UFC, we used to post back and forth. I've known him for a while. When Kyle got the call to fight Lytle on short notice, he found me and kind of asked me for advice. I came in as an underdog for the UFC and he was kind of looking for the same thing. It was kind of cool that he came to me for advice and now we're going to fight."
This is definitely a fight that Lauzon is not taking lightly. He knows that the Kyle Bradley we saw back in February isn't the Bradley that he is accustomed to. "He's got good boxing. He has good jiu-jitsu. He has pretty good wrestling. He's definitely dangerous. You don't want to sleep on him. Some people think that going into the fight is going to be a washout because they saw thirty seconds of a fight where he was getting beat up, but that's not the case at all."
This fight is very important to Lauzon to try to keep him in the upper echelon of fighters in the already-stacked UFC lightweight division. A win over Bradley would certainly set the tone for a climb back up to title contention. The main thing that he is focused on is this fight and coming out to set the tempo of the fight. "I'm usually pretty good and controlling the pace. That's kind of a given. We try to work on a couple things. We work on concepts. I have ideas of what we'd like to do, but nothing is super specific."
Setting the tempo for this fight, Lauzon also hopes to set the tempo for the rest of his career, fast-paced and finishing on top with his hand raised in the end.