UFC 123: Is Joe Lauzon Destined To Be a Gatekeeper?
At UFC 123, Joe Lauzon had his chance to make a statement and move up the lightweight ranks. He came out of the gate very strong. He took the fight to George Sotiropoulos, landing strong, solid punches and looked like he could end it in the first round.
Unfortunately for Lauzon, that would pretty much spell the end of his chances. He came out in the second round breathing heavily and didn't have the same fast pace that he did in the first round. Lauzon was taken to the ground and was eventually submitted via kimura armbar.
So what happens to Joe Lauzon next?
He is nowhere near title contention, not that he was before this fight. He is in an interesting predicament though: He is not a great fighter but he puts on good performances and his fights are nearly always entertaining. Seven of his last nine fights have earned the coveted fight of the night, submission of the night, or knockout of the night.
To use one of my least favorite phrases, Joe Lauzon is what he is. He is a guy who can give an entertaining fight to the fans, but he is never going to be anything more than what he is: a guy who is above prelim-level but not one who is going to beat guys in the upper levels of the lightweight division.
Maybe it's just a matter of conditioning, because he looked good early in this fight but faded as it went on. Maybe the talent level of his opponent was just superior to his own. Maybe it is some combination of the two.
One thing that is certain is Joe Lauzon needs to figure something out quickly if he wants to become more than just an above average MMA fighter.