by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
Joe Lauzon expected to his fight with Jeremy Stephens to be a tough one, and he was absolutely right. The two fought in the main event of last weekend’s UFC Fight Night 17 card and put on a fantastic fight.
Lauzon headlined an UFC Fight Night before back in April against current number one lightweight contender Kenny Florian. Unfortunately for Lauzon, he succumbed to strikes in that bout. Now with main event experience under his belt, he looked much more confident in his fight with Stephens. For Lauzon, the fight went according to plan.
“Pretty much,” said Lauzon in a post-fight interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “I expected Jeremy to be tough. I expected him to be durable. I did not think I was going to hit him and see him crumble. I figured he’d be there with whatever I put in his face. I expected to out-grapple him, which is what I did. It’s pretty much what I thought.”
Even though Lauzon expected himself to out-grapple Stephens, he believes he may have shocked his corner when he ended up in a ferocious exchange with his opponent. “I think I gave my corner a heart attack when I started swinging for the fences. Other than that, that was the game plan. It’s kind of tough. You have to throw punches and get them to react differently. The general idea was to get him thinking about punches.”
The fight wasn’t all fun and games for the New England native. He ended up on the bottom in a precarious situation once or twice when Stephens was throwing heavy leather and elbows, which shocked Lauzon.
“He landed one elbow that hit me in the neck, which I was really glad hit me in the neck instead of the chin,” Lauzon commented. “I just barely took it to the neck. It would have been a lot worse on the chin. I was a little tired at the end of the second round because I tried to sink the guillotine in, but other than that, I felt good the entire time.”
Towards the end of the second round, Lauzon advanced to the mount position and transitioned to a textbook armbar. Even though Stephens hung in there as much as he could, he was forced to eventually tap. “There’s something nice about a nice armbar from mount. He knew what was going on. He has great defense.”
Lauzon was originally tapped to fight Hermes Franca in the main event, but an injury sidelined the Brazilian. It’s been no secret that Franca and Lauzon have had some bad blood between them, but the bad blood didn’t spill over to Stephens and Lauzon.
“I was cool with Jeremy the whole time. I never had any bad will towards him. I told him good fight after the fight. That was about the extent of it. I didn’t see him afterwards at all. I saw Hermes in the lobby afterward and we passed each other by. I didn’t say hi to him and he didn’t say hi to me.”
There was some speculation after his victory over Stephens that Lauzon called out Nate Diaz in a post fight interview. According to Lauzon, he never specifically called out Diaz and believes there are plenty of worthy opponents out there for him in his next fight.
“I think that there are a bunch of possibilities,” he explained. “I read on MMAJunkie today that I called out (Nate) Diaz supposedly. They asked me if I’d rather fight Nate or Manny (Gamburyan). I already fought Manny so I said Nate. When I read the title that Lauzon calls out Diaz, I was like ‘come on.’ There are a bunch of guys. I think Josh Neer is a possibility. Clay Guida is a good possibility. Maybe Diaz. There’s a whole bunch of good guys.”
There is no official word from the UFC on Lauzon’s next fight, but if he faces anyone on that list, it’s sure to be a good one for fight fans.