By Elias Cepeda
Being proactive paid off for Joe Lauzon last week. The UFC lightweight contender signed on to fight Gray Maynard and says he was the one pushing for the tough match up.
“I saw Gray say in an interview that he wanted to coach the next season of TUF against Nate Diaz,” Joe explains.
“He’s banking on Diaz beating [Ben] Henderson [when the two face off for Henderson’s title] and wants that title shot and, I guess, a third fight between him and Nate. So I contacted [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva and said that I thought Gray and I could be a cool angle as coaches of TUF. They didn’t do that but later I got a call asking if I wanted to fight Gray on December 29th. Its on the main card of a huge card.”
Lauzon is coming off of a record-setting submission of the night and fight of the night performance in beating Jamie Varner earlier this month. Maynard is coming off of a controversially-close split decision win over Clay Guida. Before that, Maynard fought then-champion Frankie Edgar twice in a row, first drawing with him and then losing via TKO.
Lauzon doesn’t know if a win over Maynard would put him in the #1 contender’s spot for the lightweight title for certain, but he says it would be a “step in the right direction.” “Gray is a monster. He’s only lost to Frankie. He’s super tough. Me beating Gray would make a big statement because he’s smashed everyone except for the champ at the time. Even in those fights he had the champ hurt badly at times,” Lauzon says.