The pressure is on UFC lightweight fighter Joe Lauzon this weekend. “J-Lau” will be looking to rebound from a knee injury and a disappointing loss all in front of a hometown Boston crowd. Lauzon recently broke a two-fight winning streak when he posted a unanimous decision loss to Canadian kickboxer Sam Stout at UFC 108 in January. Now, Lauzon is set to take on fellow The Ultimate Fighter 5 cast member Gabe Ruediger this weekend at UFC 118 and he recently told the Boston Herald that he is ready to bounce back from that loss and that he will be aided in doing so by his newly rediscovered confidence.
Lauzon told the Herald that he has been out of action since January because he wanted to give himself plenty of time to recover physically and mentally in order to avoid posting two losses in a row.
“One of the things I always say is you’re only as good as your last fight,” said Lauzon. “It doesn’t matter. You could win 100 fights, but if you lose your last one, that’s all anyone is going to talk about. I was definitely trying to fight that urge and be smart about things. I didn’t want to rush into something and make it worse and put myself in a deeper hole.”
The East Bridgewater, Massachusetts native said that the extended layoff was a good choice and that he feels more prepared than ever for his upcoming bout against Ruediger, despite a knee injury that still stays present in his mind.
“The layoff has been good,” he said. “My last fight camp kind of got me into normal shape and this fight camp is really elevating me to being fight-ready. Right after the fight I really didn’t take any time off. I’m definitely ready. I’ve had more than enough time. I fought 10 months after I had surgery so I was thinking about it a little bit. Now it’s in the back of my head but it’s not stopping me from doing anything.”
Lauzon admitted that he used his knee injury before to slack off but now that he is coming off of a loss he is focused and dedicated to being fully prepared and ready to fight.
“When I had my layoff before, I was coming off of a win [over Jeremy Stephens]. I don’t want to say I was taking it easy, but I didn’t really have a reason to push as hard. I was kind of using my knee as a crutch. I could say, ‘Oh, I have to take it easy because of my knee.’ But now, I’m coming off of a loss. All I’ve been doing is thinking about it every single day. It’s been so long since I’ve been confident like this. It’s really been since two fights ago, which is a year and a half ago now. The Stout fight I was pretty confident, but it’s always in the back of my head about my knee. This has been a way better camp.”
Lauzon and Ruediger will fight on the preliminary card of UFC 118 this Saturday night; their bout will be broadcast live via Spike TV from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.