Last August, UFC lightweight Joe Lauzon was thrilled to be fighting on the UFC Fight Night 26 card in his home town at the Boston Garden. The honor of fighting at home on the sport of MMA's biggest stage can be offset a bit by a particular set of challenges and annoyances, however, Lauzon found out.
"At one point I was cutting weight and I get a text from someone asking me what time weigh ins were," Joe remembers in disbelief.
Professional fighters like Lauzon engage in pretty extreme dehydration in order to make their weight division's limit the day before fighting. The idea is that they can stay muscled up and larger during their fight if they cut water weight that can be replaced by the time they walk into the ring.
The process is mentally and physically draining and even the most congenial guy like Lauzon can be easily agitated while cutting weight. That, combined with the fact that weigh in times and location are about as easy to find before UFC events as going to UFC.com and clicking once or twice, made such requests of Lauzon obnoxious to the fighter.
Constant contact with and requests from friends and acquaintances during fight week disrupted his normal routine, he says.
"I don't think people realize what a big deal the fight is when it is at home," he tells Yahoo! Sports.
"They just go about their day and afterwards drive over to the Garden. To the fighters, of course, it's more involved."
Though it was nice to sleep in his own bed, train at his own gym and cut weight at home, fighters sometimes need a certain level of discomfort to stay sharp come fight time, Lauzon realized. A scrap is no smooth affair, after all.
"I loved sleeping in my own bed the night before a bed, I loved training at my gym, but all that isn't my normal fight week routine," Lauzon explains.
"In the fight, I never felt sharp or fast. When [opponent] Johnson started out fast, because he's a good, quick fighter, it was difficult. When he kept it up and then turned it on later, I couldn't turn it up myself to match him."
Lauzon would lose the most lopsided decision of his career that night to Michael Johnson. Losing is never fun, but losing at home is especially bad.
"I try not to dwell on losses for too long afterwards," Lauzon says.
"But I'll always want to get that one back."
For many reasons, then, "Baby Joe" is happy to be fighting on the opposite coast this Saturday, in California on the UFC on Fox 9 main card against Mac Danzig. Both Lauzon and Danzig will try to snap two fight losing streaks.
Lauzon knows that Danzig will be particularly dangerous and motivated because of his skid but says he'll match that sense of urgency.
"I can't speak for him but I know how it feels to want to get another win real badly. All the fight night awards don't make you feel better about a loss," he says.
"I can't wait to get back into the Octagon on Saturday. I think he's a better match up for me, in terms of speed. The idea is to make Mac pay for what I felt losing the last time."
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