In case you have been distracted by the heated trash-talk that is going on between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans, the card that they will soon headline, UFC 114, is witnessing the emergence of another dramatic story line. Brothers and UFC lightweights Joe and Dan Lauzon have apparently experienced a falling out over Dan’s training habits leading up to his UFC 114 fight against Efrain Escudero. Both brothers have released statements concerning the fallout and the gist of the story is that Joe and the brothers’ coaches have refused to corner Dan at UFC 114 because they did not feel that he was putting in the necessary gym-time to fully prepare for Escudero. Escudero, who has trained with Lauzon in the past, spoke with MMAFighting.com and offered his thoughts on the situation.
“I’m really hoping that this is going to bring the best out of both of us,” said Escudero. “We both have lots to work on and prove when we step into the Octagon. This isn’t a grudge match. We’re just going to find out who’s better prepared.”
As to whether or not Escudero is expecting to see an ill-prepared Dan Lauzon based on the rumors, he says he will wait until they fight to judge Lauzon’s level of preparedness.
“I can’t say what he is and isn’t doing,” he said. “After the fight, I’ll judge whether he took me lightly. Right now, I’m not slowing anything down. I’m training to go right through him. I’m training for the best Dan Lauzon. If he’s not ready, I’m going to run right through him.”
If the rumors about Dan’s lack of preparation prove to be true, Escudero says he will be the first in line to offer his friend advice on the merits of training hard.
“He’s a good friend of mine,” he said. “If he didn’t train and I beat him up, after I beat him up, maybe I’ll be the one to tell him, ‘Hey Dany, we’re no longer fighting local guys. We’re fighting the top guys in the world in the UFC. This isn’t an extra-curricular activity.'”
Although Escudero lost his last fight to Evan Dunham, he has proven himself to be a tough and talented lightweight; Lauzon would be doing himself no favors by taking him lightly. For that matter, Escudero is correct in asserting that no one in the UFC should be taken lightly. Lauzon has the talent, it remains to be seen if he has the drive to do what is necessary to succeed in the UFC. Escudero will serve as a solid litmus test of Lauzon’s motivation.