After #1 Selection, TUF’s Justin Lawrence Knows “People Expect a Lot More From Me Now””
By FCF Staff
This Friday, in the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter Live on FX, Missouri native Justin Lawrence will look to score a win for Team Cruz when he takes on Brazilian vet Cristiano Marcello. While Lawrence (4-0) is coming off a knockout win over the veteran James Krause, the experienced Marcello (13-3) tapped out Jared Carlsten in the show’s opening round to win a spot in the TUF house.
“I’m definitely training hard for my upcoming fight again Marcello,” Lawrence was quoted saying in a press release from the UFC. “It’s exciting, nerve-racking. He’s a very good grappler so I really want to try and stay on my feet and make him feel uncomfortable as much as possible. I don’t want this to turn this into a Jiu Jitsu match cause I know that’s his strength. Dom’s crew (Team Cruz) has been doing a phenomenal job in training and preparing me and I’m pumped. I just have to fight my fight.”
“Being chosen first, in a way, kind of made me feel confident but then again, I kind of felt a target being placed on my back,” the season’s first pick added. “It’s definitely more pressure. A lot of people expect a lot more from me now. All I can do is go in there and fight. I’ve been fighting since I was six-years-old.”
And how has Lawrence been finding life in the TUF house thus far?
“Life hasn’t been too bad (chuckle). I miss the girls and I miss the radio! Other than that it hasn’t been that bad, better than I expected. I’m sure this week may get a little rough towards the end of the week, when I’m trying to sleep and the rest of the guys are staying up late and hanging out. We’ll see how it goes. It’s all part of it.”
Or being away from his friends and family while he competes in the show?
“I’m definitely missing my mom, my dad, my sister and my brother, and all my family and friends back home. I didn’t really realize how much my support team meant to me until they weren’t here. I know they’re supporting me and cheering me on but it’s weird not having them here.”
“My dad is the only guy that has ever wrapped my hands and been in my corner, so it’s definitely weird having someone else do it. I know this is the best for my career and I know he thinks so too, so that helps.”
“I know they’re (his family) going to be watching on TV and I wish I could get on the phone and ask him (dad) what he thinks cause I’m sure he’s thrilled and I know my mom’s a really proud mom. I miss them a lot.”
Friday’s episode and fight will air at 10:00 PM ET/ PT on FX.