Jack Brown Interview #3 – Joe Lauzon – February, 2013
This is the latest in my series of exclusive interviews for the UG. It features the UFC lightweight veteran, and fan favorite, Joe Lauzon. As I’ve said before, I’m not a journalist, so there’s no need for me to hide my obvious bias for Joe. Not only is he from the town I currently live in, East Bridgewater, MA, but I’ve also been training submission grappling at his gym for the past few years (I still suck, but that’s nobody’s fault but mine). You all know that Joe is a talented and exciting fighter, but he is also a highly analytical instructor who communicates clearly and effectively. Beyond that he is a genuinely friendly person and loyal to the core. Please enjoy our conversation below.
Jack Brown: What was your first experience with martial arts/combat sports and how do you feel like that has shaped your career thus far?
Joe Lauzon: Luckily, my first experience with training was with Joe Pomfret. Back in the day, the gym was called Reality Self Defense, which we later renamed to Lauzon Mixed Martial Arts and moved from Bridgewater to Easton, MA. Pomfret was never the closed-minded guy that had all the answers... he was always the guy saying that he didn't know it all and that we should all go out and learn everything we can from anyone we can. It really shaped me as a martial artist and a competitor.
JB: You are well known for finishing fights and your excellent submission skills. Back during your first couple years of grappling, what were some of your favorite and/or most effective submissions?
JL: Early on, my submission game was pretty good but my positional skills sucked. I would get taken down, throw up a million submissions and eventually catch someone after they repeatedly passed my guard and dominated me positionally. I used to really center my game around leg locks, but in time as I got better with guard passing and other things, I rounded my game out quite a bit.
JB: What do you recall most about your first amateur fight?
JL: I remember my first amateur fight clear as day. I was supposed to fight someone else but my opponent pulled out... so I stepped into the main event against a guy with a lot of experience on me. I shot in from WAY too far away, ate an uppercut and got rag dolled around a little bit. I was able to regain my composure to shoot a better takedown and immediately land a heel hook to get the submission win.
JB: You were still a very young man when you knocked out Jens Pulver at UFC 63. How did you celebrate?
JL: That whole night was just an incredible experience. I went from being dead-man-walking all week long to being the biggest upset on the card. I think we ended up at some club where others fighters were supposed to show up... and I don't think they even showed. We just hung out at the club and listened to one of my friends try to take some girl home that was there with her church group.
JB: A lot of great fighters came out of your season of The Ultimate Fighter and I know that you became close with your coach on the show, BJ Penn. What else did you take with you from that experience?
JL: I made a lot of great friends on TUF5. I still talk with guys like Manny Gamburyan, Cole Miller, Nate Diaz, Matt Wiman and Noah Thomas whenever I can... and I formed a really great bond with all of my coaches on the show. It was the first time I got to train like a full-time fighter... and I haven't looked back.
JB: Which fight do you feel like was your most “complete” performance in the UFC thus far and why?
JL: I think the Jamie Varner fight was my most complete fight because we were everywhere.... standing, ground, takedowns both ways and it ended with a great submission.
JB: You’re something of modern Renaissance man with your many obsessions outside of fighting. What are the video games that you’ve logged the most hours playing?
JL: Call. Of. Duty. I play a good amount of Xbox and I definitely dip into some other titles like Borderlands and Transformers but it’s mostly Call of Duty.
JB: I also understand that you’re a bit of a collector.Besides your Ghostbuster’s proton pack, what is your most impressive collector’s item?
JL: Eh, not so much.
JB: Living in the same town that your grew up in is something of a rare phenomenon these days. Do you think you’ll be EB-for-life? If so, please explain why, and if not, where else might you like to live?
JL: Well, I live the next town over in Bridgewater now... but I am definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. We have awful weather here most of the year, but it’s where my friends and family are. I wouldn't mind some warmer milder weather, but I am used to it here.
JB: Last question, Joe, and I can’t thank you enough.You’ve done so much in your fighting career so far, and you still haven’t reached your peak, but what long-term goals or plans do you have beyondfighting?
JL: I just want to stay focused on getting better every day.I see it all the time where guys have a lot of potential but then they focus on getting into shape and forget to work on improving. If I can keep improving with each day that passes by even a little bit... I will be happy.
Thanks so much for reading and please follow @JoeLauzon and @jackjohnbrown on Twitter.
Special thanks to @KirikJenness for @theUG
Keep checking the UG for the next Jack Brown Interview, with Bellator welterweight, War Machine.