There's always a fine line in MMA that fighters walk between fighting to be exciting and fighting just to win.
It's not to say the two approaches can't be intertwined when the right fight or fighter comes along, but it's an ongoing argument about someone performing with the expectation of making the crowd roar and taking home a fight night bonus whether they win, lose or draw, and the philosophy of winning by any means necessary even if that means a lackluster decision.
You can categorize UFC 155 co-main event fighter Joe Lauzon with the fighters who always go out to be exciting and looking to finish every opponent they step into the cage against.
In his mind even though he's had a few losses in the UFC, Lauzon's 11 fight night bonuses, which include six submission of the night awards, will always outweigh any defeats he's had because fans remember great performances, not boring decisions.
“I've had a couple fights I lost, that didn’t go my way, like I lost to Sam Stout, but I think way more people are going to remember the exciting fight that Jamie (Varner) and I had, and the awesome finish than they're going to remember me fighting Sam Stout or something like that,” Lauzon said when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.
“I just go out there and try to have exciting fights and I think that really sticks with people.”
The fight with Varner was Lauzon's last trip to the cage when he fought at UFC on Fox 4 in August. The two lightweights put on a blazing performance that earned Fight of the Night honors, and also landed Lauzon with another Submission of the Night bonus to boot.
Lauzon believes that putting someone away like he did with the triangle choke he landed on Varner in the third round of their bout is the perfect exclamation point everybody wants when a fight is over.
“Finishes like that are what I want to leave people. I want someone in 10 years to be like, ‘oh you remember that Lauzon fight that ended like this?' and luckily my style works for that. I'm super aggressive, especially when it comes to submissions. I want to have exciting fights where people talk about it for years. I don't want to have boring fights to where I have a good record, but it's decision after decision after decision,” said Lauzon.
“That's just not me.”
Lauzon's style has earned him a great reputation among UFC fighters. Company executives are paying attention as well because he's almost always in a prime spot on the pay-per-view or television broadcast. While some fighters have to scratch and claw through six or seven fights to sniff a main card, Lauzon is planted there because the UFC knows when he competes, he delivers.
“If you keep winning, you have to keep moving up the card, it happens. If you're on a seven or eight fight win streak, you have to move up the card, you have to get close to the title shot. But if you lose, you drop down so much and if you've had a bunch of boring fights that one loss will really hurt you,” Lauzon stated.
“On the other hand, someone whose had pretty exciting fights, like I think I've had pretty good placements on a lot of cards, even though I haven't put together this amazing streak, but pretty much all of my fights have been pretty exciting. That helps me.”
It also helps Lauzon when it comes to recognition about contender status in the lightweight division. Sure, over his career, he's put together winning streaks, but a loss has been dabbled in his record on more than a couple of occasions.
Lauzon knows, however, that if he goes out and performs at his best and puts together a few quality wins, he'll be in the title talk a lot faster than say a fighter who grinds out seven or eight wins in a row just to get top ten consideration.
It's not just winning to Joe Lauzon… it's winning big and leaving a lasting impression.
“I don't think it would ever take me like a seven-fight win streak. I think a four-fight win streak and I'm getting a title shot,” said Lauzon. “Whereas other people are getting wins, but a much more boring style, it might take longer.”
Lauzon's next opportunity to impress comes Saturday night against Jim Miller at UFC 155 in Las Vegas.