This is lucky number, thirteen, in Jack Brown’s series of interviews with MMA fighters and personalities, and for this particular interview, we’re pleased to feature the veteran lightweight, Dany Lauzon. Dany’s first fight in the UFC was back at UFC 64, when he was just eighteen years old! He’s amassed a record of 16-4 in his pro career, with a four-fight win streak since his last fight in the UFC. He recently signed a contract with the World Series of Fighting promotion and looks to be making his debut soon. Please enjoy our conversation below.
Jack Brown: What was your first experience with martial arts/combat sports and did you know right away that it was something you would be good at?
Dany Lauzon: My first experience was when I was fourteen. I was a freshman in high school, and growing up I played football and I used to skateboard at skateparks littered with punks that ran their mouths. So my friends and I were always fighting. I loved fighting. I had been into MMA from a young age. I remember watching UFCs when I was like eight or nine on VHS with my older cousin. Joe started training when I was twelve and he'd come home and show me some submissions. It was awesome. When I turned fourteen I started training in all the adult classes, and the next closest in age to me was eighteen. So I had to pick things up as quickly as possible. Being able to take a shot can only get you so far. From the beginning, I remember thinking I'm going to fight in the UFC someday. I knew I could fight long before I started training.
JB: You debuted in the UFC, in just your fifth professional fight, way back in 2006, at UFC 64. What, today, are the things that you remember most about that night in Vegas?
DL: It was unreal. I didn't have much time to prepare and truthfully wasn't even thinking in my head that the fight was going to happen because it just seemed like such an unreal event. It didn't hit me that fight was going to happen until I was in the octagon. They announced "Spencer, The King, Fisher," and he takes a step forward and does his Ric Flair "WOO!" At that moment it hit me. I just remember thinking, "Give it your best, no shame in that." I knew I had to finish him in the first. I don't think anyone had finished him in the first, but I didn't have any cardio. I had fought August 5th, and took a little time off after that fight, and then was just training here and there, helping guys out. All in all, it was an amazing experience and I wouldn't change anything about it. Of course I wish I won, but I felt it was a win just being on that UFC platform at eighteen years old.
JB: You also fought on an historic Affliction card, beating current UFC lightweight, Bobby Green, in 2009. What are some of the memories that stand out from that event?
DL: It was a disaster. I was supposed to fight Horodecki, and the night before weigh-ins we're told he can't fight and that they’re looking for a replacement. At midnight, they came in with Bobby Green. I thought, okay, cool, I’d get to fight. I don't know anything about this guy, I've been training to fight a technical kickboxer, and then Green comes out as the furthest thing from a technical kickboxer. It was a little tough to adjust in there on the fly, and the groin shots sucked. Everyone says I was faking, but I would never fake anything in there. I took the full five minutes to recover each time because that's what my corner was telling me to do. I didn't need the full five minutes to recover, but I trust my corner guys when I'm in there. They see things and might know something from the outside that I don't being on the inside. I was happy to win in the first round, but not happy about the overall fight. Green's tough though, and the guy went on to knock out Krazy Horse, fight JZ to a controversial decision, and just recently subbed Volkmann.
JB: You were featured on one of the episodes during the second season of the TapouT reality show. What do you think of that experience in retrospect?
DL: It was just weird all the way around. They showed up four days before my fight and basically told me, “Okay you're going to do this and you're going to do that.” Like, they made me ask Mask, Skrape, and Punk to come over for a family dinner. I told the producer that was going to be awkward since we hadn't had a family dinner like that in about six years. At the time, I wasn't even exactly on good terms with my father. We hadn't really talked much at all in the weeks leading up to that dinner. I was living with friends at the time. It was just weird. Then the SYD thing - they asked me to go there and I repeatedly said "No." I told them, "Look its February, my brother, Joe, is fighting Kenny Florian, April 2nd, and I'm not going." They just begged and pleaded that I go there, and finally the producer said, "Just stop in for 10-15 minutes and you can leave." I agreed because he was relentless, and he was not going to stop. I drove there, walked in for 15 minutes, and left. On the show they played it up like I spent the entire night there, in awe at these guys training. It’s like, what the hell, man, this is a rival school, my brother is fighting Kenny in less than two months, and they put me on the spot inside their gym and they’re like well they train hard, huh. I'm like, yeah they train hard, but I was pissed. I wanted to be like, man, you guys want to see us train hard and do our hard sparring rounds, come out a few weeks out from the fight, not three to four days. I feel the whole reason for them coming out was to basically do a spin and make SYD look awesome. Don't get me wrong, Mark is a great guy and has a great school, but I just felt like I was a prop in their little puppet show. Only part of that show that wasn't scripted was my actual fight. It's too bad really. I thought it was going to be great and it turned into something I hated right from the beginning when they started telling me, "Okay do this and now do that." There was nothing real about it.
JB: Just like your older brother, Joe, all of your professional victories have come via stoppages. That's 38 wins between the two of you and 0 decisions. What do you attribute that remarkable fact to?
DL: Both of us just think the same when it comes down to winning or losing. We feel it's not a good win without a finish. We are not lay-on-top wrestlers. We started training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, then boxing. We added wrestling last. Wrestling is not our base. Wrestlers are content with getting on top and grinding out a decision. It's what they did in high school, it’s what they did in College, and it's just boring. We've both said it. We'd rather “lose exciting than win boring.”
JB: I know that locally there are a number of high level fighters, including your brother, that you've trained with. Who are some of the ones that have really helped to make you the fighter that you are today?
DL: There were the guys that paved the way for me when I was thirteen years old and going to see fights, guys like my coach, Joe Pomfret, and Bill Mahoney, Scott Lockhart, Mike Littlefield, Mat Santos, and John Clarke. Then there are all the guys I've trained with from the beginning until this point: Steve Maze, Josh Grispi, Chuck O'Neil, Joe Proctor, Andy Aiello, Frank Sforza, Dave LaChappelle, Greg Pomfred, Matt Perry, Curt Wilson, Bobby Flynn, Eddie Bishop, and so many more. Every single one of them has helped me in one way or another.
JB: I've seen you reference that Vitor Belfort is one of your favorite fighters. What is it about him that you appreciate and admire?
DL: Vitor is and will always be my #1 favorite fighter in the world. He's a southpaw, and I remember watching him in '98, when I was just ten years old. Vitor blitzed Wand, and it was in that moment he became my favorite fighter. What I admire most about Vitor Belfort is what he went through with his sister and how he never gave up. He is inspirational. I've been through some stuff, and when I wanted to give up, that was one of the things that I would think about - how Vitor never gave up when things were tough. He is a true man. TRT or not, win or lose, I don't care. I'll support him until the end.
JB: I enjoyed the World Series of Fighting's first event back in November. You're now signed with the WSOF. How did you first connect with the promotion and what do you think of their current roster of fighters?
DL: I’m not exactly sure how it came about. I just received a call and was offered a four-fight deal with them. It was tough getting fights around where I live so I took it. It's a good opportunity. I don't know too much about who they have signed but their first card was great and I look forward to fighting for them.
JB: I'm really intrigued by the auto repo work that you've been doing. How did you get involved with that and is there a quick story that you can share?
DL: I needed to make money in between fights and a friend of mine that I grew up playing football with was looking for someone to help him. It was perfect for me. I'm all about the adrenaline rush, and it's a rush every time we see the car we need to get. You never know who’s going to come running out of the house or what’s going to happen. Sometimes no one comes out, but there’s always that chance someone will. A few years ago my buddy grabbed a car and was strapping it down when the back window of his truck got shot out. A good story from just a few nights ago was when we grabbed an SUV. The lady had a 100lb pit-bull barking through the window, with a big sign that said "Beware Vicious Dog Inside." We grabbed the SUV, but it was AWD, so we had to drag it down the street to set up the dollies. Then a neighbor comes running out, a lady saying "Oh, is this a repo? She used to be my best friend, but you guys just made my night!" Blah, blah, blah, she was talking the whole time we're setting up the dollies, and then at the end she says, "You guys made my night. I love you guys. I'd have a threesome with you guys." Hah! Like I said, “You just never know what could happen.”
JB: Last question, Dany, and I'm so glad that you were able to take the time to do this. You're not yet twenty-five, but you're already a veteran of the sport. What has being a professional fighter taught you about yourself?
DL: Everything I've been through has just taught me to not take things for granted, to make the best of every opportunity, and never give up on something you care about. I'm twenty-four, and I’ve been cut from the UFC twice now. It was completely my fault. I didn't take control of the opportunities when they were there for me. I got wrapped up in some stuff at a young age and wasn't able to get control of it until about six months ago.
Thanks for asking me these questions. I'm not too big on interviews, but it was good to talk about some stuff from the past and some things in the future. The best from me is yet to come. I appreciate anyone that supports me.
Thanks so much for reading and please follow @DJLauzon22 and @jackjohnbrown on Twitter.
Special thanks to @KirikJenness for @theUG
And keep checking the UG for the next Jack Brown Interview.
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