UFC on FOX 4 may have "big picture" relevance because of the light-heavyweight four-way scrum that will determine UFC champ Jon Jones' next opponent, but one shouldn't overlook some of the event's other gems — not the least of which is the match-up between Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner. Originally slated to face Terry Etim until Etim bowed out with an injury, Lauzon is primed and ready to explode all over Varner, showering the former WEC champ with submission attempt-shrapnel and fistic debris. Cagewriter caught up with Lauzon on Thursday, a day that saw the Massachusetts native venturing away from the fighters' hotel and exploring other parts of Los Angeles.
First of all, how are you? Are you healthy?
"I'm good. There are always little injuries that add up a little bit, but I'm doing good."
You're an old timer now in terms of the fight week experience. How is it out there?
"It's not too bad. I have a bunch of guys that are here with me usually, and this week as always. We like to get out of the hotel room - I used to just sit in the hotel room a lot and that would get a little stale. So we try to keep busy. Today we went down to Venice Beach and just kind of moved around a little bit. I did some training today, nice and light, just to kind of break a sweat and keep things as normal as possible."
Did you prepare any differently knowing your opponent was going to be Jamie Varner?
"Not really. It was kind of short notice, it was only a couple of weeks. We switched from getting ready to fight Etim, who is really long and has kind of herky-jerky footwork and keeps you real far away with kicks, to Varner, who is a smoother boxer. Not so much a kickboxer, but a straight-up boxer with good wrestling. So we didn't have a ton of time to get super-detailed about stuff. I was in good shape so we just reorganized our drills, and switched it up a little bit."
Is there any pressure to perform?
"Not more than usual. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to try to have a spectacular fight and put people away. It's big show, it's on FOX, but it's really not any different than other shows besides having a little bit of extra media. It's still a fight. If it was on the undercard of a Fight Night, it'd be the exact same thing."
Any thoughts on who you'd want to fight next?
"Nope. I'm one-hundred percent Jamie Varner now, and I'm not even thinking about what's going on after."
Hypothetical: what if it was the PRIDE FC days and the Japanese offer you a wheelbarrow full of money to fight Jon Jones. Do you take the fight?
"Absolutely. If they're going to pay me to try to fight Jon Jones, I'm going to shoot a little single[-leg takedown], and if it doesn't go my way, I'm getting the hell out of there. And then I'll take that wheelbarrow full of money.