As Joe Lauzon is getting down to the final weeks of his training camp, he took a few minutes out of his day to get on the phone with me and answer a few questions. Check out our interview after the jump to find out why he left BJ Penn's camp, how he cuts weight and what he what the future holds for him and Reggie Warren Jr., Spike.com's newest video fighting sensation. Joe will be headlining UFC Fight Night 17 in a matchup with Hermes Franca on February 7 at 9 p.m. ET Live on Spike.
SP: I saw this morning that you started up a blog with the Boston Herald, which is awesome, so how did that come about?
JL: Yea, it's pretty cool. I did a blog with them for The Ultimate Fighter. And it went over pretty well, so they asked me if I'd do one for this as well.
SP: So you've trained in Hilo, HI before with BJ Penn's camp, but I heard that you stayed in Massachusetts for this one. Can you go over some of the differences in the two training camps?
JL: I loved Hilo, but I felt like I didn't have as much control over things. Back home it's much easier to travel. Hawaii is so isolated, so if I want to work out with real good wrestlers or real good jiu jistsu guys -I had great jiu jitsu guys with BJ and all his brothers- but if I want to go somewhere just to box or something, it's a little bit easier back home. It's much easier to hop in my car and drive 45 minutes than it is to go on a train or a plane.
SP: I also know that you walk around relatively light, but you save all your weight-cutting until the day before a weigh-in. Can you explain why you feel like it's better to kill yourself for one day instead of doing it gradually over time?
JL: There are advantages to doing it either way, you know. Guys that cut a lot of weight, assuming the weight-cut goes OK, will be the bigger, stronger guy. At the same time, for guys who routinely cut a lot of weight but for whatever reason the cut doesn't go so well, they get themselves in lots of trouble. For me, I'm not starving myself, I'm eating pretty much anything I want. I stay away from crap, but I walk at like 168-170 and I can make 155 relatively easy. Some guys are walking at 175-180 and they're cutting that much; they're miserable for the month leading up to the fight.
SP: Hermes Franca has been through a lot over the past year and half or so. Do you expect that to come into play at all?
JL: I think everyone has a lot going on. Hermes is definitely very experienced. I think he switched camps last year, he fought for the title, he tested positive for steroids, he got a DUI; there's been a lot going on with him and I'm sure it's weighing on him a little bit but that's just part of life. You gotta deal with it as it comes.
SP: So to take that a step further, does it affect your preparation or mindset at all?
JL: Not really. I try to always get into the best shape possible. The game plan and what we're training will change a little bit, based on the fighter, but for the most part we're always going to be in shape. We're always going work on everything. The different combinations we work, or we're thinking about the fight will change a little bit.
SP: At this point in your career, how important is a win here?
JL: A win is always the most important thing. Every time I fight, everything revolves around getting that win. But I've said in the past, too, that I'd rather go out and have an exciting fight and risk maybe losing to have good fight than to play it safe and get the win. Winning is the most important thing, but I want to win it the way I want to win it, not just coasting to a decision.
SP: I don't want you to give away too much, obviously but can you give a little idea of what the key to victory is going to be here?
JL: They key for me is being defensively perfect. Hermes hits really, really hard and on the feet he comes in blasting with overhand rights and hooks; all kinds of stuff. On the ground, as soon as you try to relax a little bit, he's trying to break your arm and take it home with him.
SP: Do you foresee a rematch with Kenny Florian anytime soon, or do you even want one?
JL: It's definitely something I want, but not something I think will happen anytime soon. The thing is that he's a local guy so I'm constantly seeing him and people that know him. It's just a constant reminder. At the same time, it's not a straight up bad thing being reminded of when you fell down, so it doesn't happen again.
SP: So you and Reggie Warren are buddies. How did you guys meet?
JL: Reggie Warren is my boy (laughing). I sent him some messages after I saw his first videos on YouTube. I told him I thought it was awesome. He's actually pretty good friends with Spencer Fisher, so my brother fought Spence and when we were going back and forth, I met him out in New Jersey. But I had been talking to him a bunch; I put him on my T-shirt at UFC 78.
SP: Alright, Joe, that's all I have. Thanks a lot for taking some time and good luck.
JL: You got it, thanks.