EXCLUSIVE | UFC on FS1’s Joe Lauzon Wants His Bonus: ‘I don’t have to beat them, they have to beat me to get it’ | BJPENN.COM RADIO
“I think that I’m going to win my fight in spectacular fashion,” said Joe Lauzon. Lauzon will be fighting in front of his home crowd this Saturday, as he takes on Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX Sports 1 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Joe Lauzon spoke with BJPenn.com Radio Wednesday night in the days leading up to his lightweight bout against Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX Sports 1 this Saturday.
Lauzon is a fighter who needs no introduction to today’s MMA fans. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Joe is one of two men to hold 12 bonuses in the UFC. In his nearly 7 year UFC career, Lauzon has managed to win 5 Fights of the Night, 6 Submissions of the Night and one Knockout of the Night. The only other man to match the quantity of stellar performances is long-time pound-for-pound king and former UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva.
This Saturday, Lauzon will be looking to add to that record. Against Johnson, whose 8 losses include 6 by submission, this is certainly a possibility. Lauzon, however, is not worried about the bonus.
“I’m concerned with the win,” he stated. “A bonus would be nice… but I wouldn’t risk losing a fight for getting a bonus. If it came down to one or the other, obviously I’m looking for the win. But I want to have an exciting win. I’m not a guy that’s going to go in and take someone down and lay on them and try to coast out to a decision. But, you know, I feel like I’m going to have a good opportunity to get one of those bonuses. I don’t look at it like I have to beat them out, I look at it like the entire card has to beat me out. I think I have the best record at getting bonuses. I think they are more worried about me getting the bonus than I’m worried about that. Even though it’s an amazing card, and the whole entire thing is stacked with superstar to superstar, I like my chances, I like my odds.”
His chances are increased given his game and how it fits with that of his opponent.
“I’m very happy with the match up. I think that on the feet it’s pretty comparable, in wrestling it’s pretty comparable, but I think on the ground I’m going to have a pretty big advantage. The overall game plan is to get the fight to the ground- which that’s usually my game plan for most fights. I’m comfortable on my feet, but what I like is being on the ground [using] jiu jitsu and ground-and-pound and looking for submissions. So I like the match-up a lot… You know, I think he’s had some issues with submissions and getting caught in the past, but like any good fighter, I’m sure he’s been working on rounding those out and working on his weaknesses and things like that… I fully expect him to come in well-prepared and ready to go and ready for whatever I throw at him. I just got to hope that I can throw something and have it stick.”
Of course, in this fight, Lauzon could very well be facing the most dangerous Michael Johnson to date. Johnson is coming off two consecutive losses, so you can bet he will be looking to come back strong against a top-name opponent in Lauzon. The added pressure of a potential cut makes Johnson fight with nothing more to lose.
“His back is definitely up against a wall. You gotta be careful- when people are trapped like that, they’re crazy like that, you got to be careful. They’ll do unexpected things, and they’ll come out with a fight they might not have had otherwise. It’s definitely something I’m looking for, and you know, I have to be very careful. Watching all the tape, the fight I remind myself of all the time is the Danny Castillo fight… Danny Castillo hurt Michael Johnson really bad in the first round, almost finished him in the first, [Johnson] ended up surviving, and then he knocked out Castillo early in the second. So the guy can take a lot of abuse and punishment and then still come back strong. So I got to keep that in mind, even if the fight’s going great, it’s going my way, I have to stay sharp- I got to be ready.
“It’s definitely not an easy fight by any sense, everyone at this level is really good and really talented and working really hard.”
All things considered, this fight has the potential, like so many of Lauzon’s prior bouts, to earn the 29 year old Boston native a Fight of the Night bonus. In fact, Lauzon is coming off back-to-back FOTN awards- the most recent being his unbelievable fight with Jim Miller.
On the prospect of fighting Miller again, Lauzon was quite candid about his view of rematches.
“I would love another crack at him. Every single [loss], but you don’t always get that opportunity. I felt like, earlier in my career, when I lost a couple fights I was like, ‘Oh, I want to get that one back!’ Then it was like, ‘You know what? Let’s just stop reminding people of that fight I lost, just move on and fight whoever’s next. If we end up meeting one of these guys again, so be it.’ It sucks when you beat someone, and they’re hounding you, they want a rematch. I didn’t want to be that guy. I got kicked in the face by Pettis; of course I would love to get that back, but you know what? He’s fighting for a title soon. The last thing he wants to hear is me saying, ‘Oh, I want it back, I want another chance,’ you know what I mean? He beat me, I’m not going to worry about it, I’m going to keep on moving forward and focus on everything else.”
With Pettis set to face Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight belt, Joe commented on his plans for a title run.
“Yeah it’s definitely something I’d like eventually, you know what I mean? My biggest issue has been consistency. Whether I’m [suffering] an injury during training, or maybe I have a night that’s just not my night- I train to the best of my ability, I train really hard, I seek out and try to train with the best people that I can, but sometimes you come up a little bit short. I think everyone, every champion, everyone all the way around, there’s a certain element of luck that’s there for every single guy. You know, not getting hurt, bumping heads during grappling or something and not getting cut. There’s a lot that goes into it. A lot of it is just a little bit of luck. I don’t think that it would take a lot. If I have a couple wins that I can put together, you know what I mean, and someone else gets hurt, I think I can definitely be a guy that’s fighting for a title or something like that. It’s definitely a long-term goal, but I’m 100% focused on Saturday. I’m not even thinking about anything else. Coming off a loss, I got to get that win, got to get that bonus, and I’m just focused on Saturday.”
And in a final word about Saturday, Lauzon had one simple statement.
“I think that I’m going to win my fight in spectacular fashion and Finish of the Night.”
Be sure to catch Joe Lauzon take on Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX Sports 1 as the new, all sports network launches this Saturday. Preliminary bouts will air on Facebook beginning at 4pm/1pm ET/PT. A second preliminary card and the main card will air on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 6pm/3pm ET/PT and 8pm/5pm ET/PT, respectively.