UFC’s Joe Lauzon Reflects on Defeating Legendary Takanori Gomi: “It’s Pretty Awesome”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Heading into UFC on FOX 16, Joe Lauzon relayed he was excited to be facing the legendary Takanori Gomi, and clearly his admiration for the former PRIDE champ didn’t affect his performance.
When Lauzon made his pro debut back in 2004, Gomi was beginning his storied run in PRIDE, which saw the heavy handed fighter win 10 straight fights, and become one of the planet’s top fighters period. In more recent years, the 36 year-old has incurred several setbacks, but Gomi has also demonstrated that he remains a dangerous threat.
Well, on July 25th, Lauzon quickly took Gomi to the mat, and finished the Japanese star with ground-and-pound strikes. The victory may not have had title shot implications, but it was certainly an impressive and noteworthy addition to Lauzon’s resume.
“It’s pretty awesome. It really is,” Lauzon said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, while reflecting on his win over Gomi. “One of the things, it didn’t really hit me, even after the fight; I go into every fight expecting to win. I go in with the mindset that I’m going to go in there and dominate, but that’s what you’re hoping for. It doesn’t always happen like that.”
“Even after the fight it didn’t really hit me at all, until sitting in the back room, Tom Lawlor’s in there with us, and he’s like ‘did you think ten years ago, we’d be at where we are now? You knocked out (Jens) Pulver in like 40 seconds, and then you just destroyed Gomi in like two minutes’…It’s kind of a weird way to kind of think about it. But it’s pretty awesome. I’m super happy with the outcome of the fight obviously.”
Of course, when Lauzon faced Pulver back in 2006, he was considerably younger and less experienced. At the time, Pulver was not that long removed from being the UFC champion, and was considered a huge favorite to take out Lauzon.
“For the Pulver fight, I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” the 31 year-old Lauzon said, when asked to reflect how he felt heading into the bout with Pulver, versus his recent fight with Gomi. “I really didn’t…It was like a week later until I saw how big of a deal it was. Everyone kept telling me, and still, to this day, everyone’s ‘oh, I remember when you knocked out Pulver.’ It’s crazy.”
“So nerves were different, but I don’t think I had bad nerves for either one,” furthered Lauzon. “For Pulver I had nerves, because I didn’t really know what I was getting into…Went out there and won, it was awesome. For this one, I didn’t have nerves, because I felt super comfortable and super confident in my ability. I think that I was the favorite going into the fight, and I think that I had the stylistic match-up in my favor, 100%. I was so sure of myself.”
With the win, Lauzon improved his record to 25-10, and returned to the win column after being stopped by Al Iaquinta in January. The Massachusetts’ fighter is 3-2 in his last 5 contests.