Joe Lauzon “Confused” By Melvin Guillard Calling Him Out
By Kelsey Mowatt
At this stage of his career, Joe Lauzon is well accustomed to facing fighters who are rising through the ranks of the lightweight division, as since he spoiled the UFC return of former champ Jens Pulver in 2006, Lauzon has gone on to battle former contenders like Kenny Florian and George Sotiropoulus. When the 27 year-old-fighter faced Florian and Sotiropoulus in 2008 and 2010 respectively, each man was riding win streaks that were being closely monitored by fans and observers alike. Now it would appear that when Lauzon takes on Melvin Guillard at UFC 136 on October 8th, the former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor will be in a similar predicament.
“He’s definitely a guy that’s right up there,” said Lauzon (20-6) about Guillard (29-8-2), who has won five straight fights heading into their upcoming bout and is 8-2 in his last ten. “He’s won five fights in a row or something, so it’s definitely a big step up in competition for me, but I think it’s a little premature for him to be running around calling himself the champ like I’ve heard he’s been doing. But I definitely think he’s a super tough fight and is close to a title shot.”
Of course, part of the reason Guillard is demanding so much attention right now is because the 28 year-old-fighter has stopped three of his last four opponents, which includes impressive finishes over Evan Dunham and most recently Shane Roller.
“I think I have a much higher chance of submitting him than he has of submitting me,” Lauzon told FCF, while discussing the fact that most people will likely pin his chances on getting Guillard to the ground. “Every time I’ve fought I’ve gone and worked on my weaknesses, so I’m sure he’s the same. I’m sure he’s not a guy that is going to be easily submitted…I think a lot of people will say though, ‘oh, if Joe can get him to the ground he’s got a chance, if not, Melvin’s going to knock him out.’ I don’t think people look a whole lot further than that.”
Although Lauzon has recorded stoppage wins with his striking, including his aforementioned win over Pulver, all three of the Massachusetts fighter’s latest victories have come by submission.
“I’ve done okay on my feet but I don’t think anyone is really looking for that kind of outcome,” said Lauzon when asked if he feels some may overlook his striking skills. “It could happen, because anything can happen in a fight, but I wouldn’t bet on that as the most likely outcome.”
While Guillard has continued to have success since his submission loss to Nate Diaz in September, 2009, Lauzon has struggled for consistency lately, going 3-2 in his last five fights. Following his first round submission win over Curt Warburton at the UFC Live 4 card in June, however, a win over Guillard would certainly bring a lot of attention and praise Lauzon’s way.
“It’s definitely an interesting kind of deal, because Melvin said in an interview that he wanted to fight someone like me,” said Lauzon. “I think it was more about the fact that I was coming off a win, he was coming off a win, and a lot of the other lightweights are tied up…. But I was a little bit confused because if your weaknesses seem to be good jiu-jitsu guys, why go call out a jiu-jitsu guy? But he asked for the fight and then next thing I knew I got a call from Joe Silva.”
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity though,” added Lauzon. “It’s a really good opportunity to be fighting a really tough guy who’s coming off a bunch of wins.”
But despite being called out by the often outspoken Guillard, Lauzon insists it will be all business on October 8th.
“I don’t dislike anyone that I fight for the most part,” said Lauzon. “I don’t want to have my judgement clouded; I just want to go out there, train and fight the best that I can and not have my emotions get the best of me. Just let it happen…I don’t need to go out and get myself all hyped up.”
UFC 136 will take place in Houston, Texas and will be hosted by the city’s Toyota Center.