November 19, 2010
DETROIT -- Joe Lauzon lucked out. The release of "Call of Duty: Black Ops" came just a week before his UFC 123 bout with George Sotiropoulos, so the noted gamer could spend time on the latest video game as he tapered down workouts.
"It came last week, which was my taper week, so it didn't interfere, but I was a little worried. If it would have been one or two weeks earlier, it would have been bad," Lauzon said.
"I'm excited for it, because it means I don't have to beat that lower level guy. I can just jump right up," Lauzon said. "Beating a guy whose 6-0, 7-0 in the UFC and close to a title shot definitely puts me close to the top."
To get that win, Lauzon is going to do what he can to make sure that Sotiropoulos has no extra advantages, including his controversial practice of wearing knee and ankle braces that cover most of his leg.
"I've asked the commission what my choices are. In the past, all the commissions that I've dealt with have said he can wear something soft as long as the opponent agreed. People are saying I'm calling him a cheater. I'm not."
Lauzon doesn't want to allow Sotiriopoulos even the slightest advantage, because if he loses a close decision, he doesn't want to look back and wonder, "What if?"
"I'm leaning towards telling him no knee pad, no ankle brace. I don't think he's wearing him because he has bad knees and bad ankles. I think he wears them because he does a lot of high rubber guard, and it helps with the slipping. If I could take away that advantage, I will."
He was pleasantly surprised when he was offered a fight with Sotiropoulos, a fighter who is on a six-fight winning streak in the UFC.
"It's a huge jump. I think I was building pretty good momentum, and then I lost to Sam Stout. Sam beat me fair and square. He was the better guy that night, but I think if I wouldn't have rushed coming back from knee surgery so much, it would have been a different fight. I think to the UFC, that fight never happened, so that's why I'm getting such a big fight now."
As he's done in previous fights, Lauzon designed a special shirt for his cornermen, friends and family. It takes a swipe at the Australian-born Sotiropoulos, reading, "According to Australian Game and Wildlife, 100 people are killed every year by adult Joeys. You've been warned."
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