Joe Lauzon will make the walk to the Octagon for the first time since October 2019 on Saturday night.
Lauzon is set to open up the UFC 274 main card against Donald Cerrone in a fight between two legends. Although Lauzon picked up a first-round TKO win at home in Boston his last time out, he says COVID played a key role in keeping him on the sidelines.
“COVID happened. My last fight was great, it could’ve been my last fight, would’ve been fine,” Lauzon said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “I said I had to have the right opponent, the right date, the right location. During COVID, I wanted no part of that. There were too many fights getting canceled, too much risk. I catch COVID, my coaches catch COVID, my training partners catch COVID, or my opponent, his coaches, or his training partners catch COVID, it’s just way too much going on.
“I think we are in a much better place,” Lauzon continued. “I told the UFC, ‘hey look, I feel comfortable trying to fight now.’ It took a little bit longer, I would’ve liked to fight last fall, it didn’t quite work and they came back with Cowboy and it satisfied all three things. I like the date, I like the opponent and I like the location. So we are doing it.”
When Lauzon was offered Cerrone, the two were originally booked for April 30 at the UFC Apex. Once both men found out it would be at the Apex, they both called the UFC and made it clear the fight wouldn’t be happening on the date as they had zero interest in fighting in front of no fans.
“It is much better being in front of a crowd, especially in a fight like this where we are both huge fan favorites,” Lauzon said. “I’m happy about that… I was surprised when they first said the Apex but I didn’t want to rock the boat too much, and then Cowboy called me, and ‘he’s like dude, this is bullshit, I’m not telling you to stop training but I’m telling you right now, we are not fighting at the Apex.’ I guess he fought at the Apex and he did not like it. He said ‘it was bullshit, there’s no crowd there, it sucks. I want to fight in front of a crowd, and we are getting this fight moved.’ I talked to Sean Shelby about it and we pushed it back one week.”
Now that the fight is in front of fans in Arizona, Joe Lauzon is getting excited to fight again. He knows this fight will have a lot of eyes on him and against Donald Cerrone, he has a clear game plan on how to win.
According to Lauzon, Cerrone is a slow starter, so if he can blitz ‘Cowboy’ early he believes he can find success. Yet, he says he still has to be patient as he knows Cerrone is dangerous.
“He’s really good, especially if you let him get going,” Lauzon said. “If you let him get going and get his footwork, his rhythm, and get his timing and stuff like that he’s hell on wheels, he’s hard to deal with… I think if I can get on him early, that helps me. (But), I think if I rush into it, he can catch me with something, I don’t want to run into a knee or a kick. If it goes later, I’m in really good shape, I’m ready to go 15 minutes. I think the earlier I get on him, the better it is for me.”
This could be Cerrone’s final fight in the UFC and Lauzon feels honored to potentially be the final person to share the Octagon with him.
Lauzon also says UFC 274 could be his final fight, but he won’t make any decision until after Saturday.
“It could be his last fight, it could be my last fight, too. I like the idea of being the last fight for maybe both of us. There is so much up in the air, we both just love to fight. I don’t think anyone will say this is the last fight one way or another,” Lauzon concluded.
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