by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
There was a bit of a rivalry between Joe Lauzon and Gabe Ruediger heading into their fight on Saturday night at UFC 118, but the Boston native settled that score pretty quickly as he laid a one-sided drubbing down on his former “Ultimate Fighter” teammate. He submitted Ruediger with an armbar just over two minutes into the first round.
If there was unfinished business before the fight, Lauzon wrote the check and cashed it, dominating Ruediger for every second of the fight, and made some wonder if the grudge spurred on the performance.
“I come at everyone 100 percent. I happened to stun him right off the bat, and I poured it on. It could have been Gabe, it could have been anyone else, I would have come at them just as hard,” Lauzon told MMAWeekly Radio after the fight.
Before the two lightweights stepped into the Octagon, they first ran into each other at the UFC 118 weigh-ins where Ruediger presented Lauzon with a cake with the words “sorry about your loss” printed in the frosting. The joke goes back to the season the two were on the reality show, when Ruediger missed weight for his fight, and fans noted that he was seen eating cake just days before trying to cut down to the 155-pound limit.
Lauzon took the cake and actually found it pretty funny. He returned the favor with a video he entitled “Godzirra” – a play on Ruediger’s “Godzilla” nickname – that he posted on his website.
“I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was all good,” Lauzon commented. “I made the video giving him crap about ‘Godzirra,’ he gave me a cake. I think it’s all fun and games, and we’re all even and everything’s cool, and we’re just having fun with it.”
The fun stopped when Lauzon blasted through Ruediger with ease on Saturday night. He chalks it up to the first moment his fist touched his opponent’s chin, and it just got worse from there.
“It was a bad start for him, and it just snowballed and got worse, and worse and worse,” said Lauzon.
As the Massachusetts native bombed away at Ruediger on the ground, he remembered a forum post on an MMA fan board where the California based fighter said that there was no way Lauzon would ever submit him, especially with an armlock.
“I really just grabbed his arm to move it out of the way so I could keep punching him in the face. Once I had it and he wasn’t even trying, like once I grabbed his arm he didn’t even try to pull it away,” Lauzon explained. “Normally when someone latches onto your arm you can tell they’re trying to set something up, you’re trying to get away. You’re trying to pull out. You’re trying to do whatever you can, and he just didn’t respond to it whatsoever.
“I was like he doesn’t even know where he is right now, I’m just going to take his arm off.”
Take his arm off he did, and Lauzon not only pleased his hometown crowd, but the UFC rewarded him with a $60,000 bonus for “Submission of the Night” and thus his first trip to the Octagon in Boston was officially a success.
Following the submission, Lauzon went over to try to shake Ruediger’s hand and put their rivalry to rest, but he wasn’t having any of it.
“I tried to shake his hand in the cage and he didn’t want any part of that,” said Lauzon. “He looked up at me and then just looked away, and freaking walked right by me. He posted on Twitter or something that he didn’t know I tried to shake his hand. No, you could tell, and you could tell on his face watching the video that it wasn’t like he was so out of it that he didn’t know what was going on.
“He knew what was going on. He was embarrassed, and that’s why he didn’t shake my hand. That’s fine, whatever, if he wants to be like that.”
Taking the situation further, Lauzon even tried to approach Ruediger in the back after the fighters had all calmed down, but again his opponent chose to be disrespectful instead of just admitting defeat and moving on.
“In the back room, I don’t know if he was getting stapled or stitched or something, they were checking out a cut on his head or something. I was giving an interview and I tried to go over and shake his hand and he kind of shook my hand and didn’t say anything,” Lauzon explained.
“After I did the steroid test for the commission, there was a monitor there and the Marcus (Davis) and Nate (Diaz) fight was on, so I was sitting on the floor in the middle of the aisle, watching the monitors watching the fight. He came over and shook my hand and I’m like ‘no hard feelings’ and he was like ‘I don’t know about that.’ I’m like ‘dude, I made the video; it was a big joke. It was stuff from four or five years ago, I’m sure you’re not so sensitive about it. You gave me a cake at the weigh-ins, we both got each other; ha ha, it’s fun. I’m ready to move on with it and not hold any grudges, and he didn’t say anything, he just walked away.”
Lauzon admits that in his mind the grudge is settled, but if Ruediger wants to hold onto it, that’s his business. Chances are the two fighters won’t meet in the Octagon again anytime soon.
“It wasn’t even a close fight. It wasn’t like it went to a decision and I edged him out, or it was a back and forth fight and I just eventually caught him. It was like I was all over him. The fight was 2:01. I was on him for 2:01. The entire time was all me. The entire fight,” Lauzon stated. “It’s like why are you going to hold a grudge? I could have just walked off and wanted nothing to do with him, and there’s nothing he can do at that point. I tried to be cool about it, I tried to shake his hand, and he didn’t want any part of it.”
The childish antics bugged Lauzon after the fight because he tried to put everything to rest from their time on the reality show to Ruediger calling for a fight with his younger brother Dany Lauzon, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“He’s 32 years old and he acts like he’s a 14-year-old kid,” said Lauzon. “He’s like ‘I hold grudges just like when I was in high school or whatever when I was a little kid’ and I was like ‘okay, act like a 14-year-old.”
As for his own fight future, Lauzon admits that after Saturday night he didn’t even feel like he was in a fight. He would love to get the call from the UFC to come back before the end of 2010.
“I would love to fight before the end of the year. I feel like I didn’t even fight. I don’t think I got hit once, pretty much every single sparring session we had was way tougher than what the fight was. It doesn’t matter who, but December/November or something like that or even if it was early January or something like that, I’m down.”