UFC lightweight contender Gray Maynard is looking to get back on the title track after his two classic fights with Frankie Edgar saw him unable to finish the former LW champion on multiple occasions. He rebounded from the dramatic 4th round KO loss to Edgar in their final fight last October to beat Clay Guida in one of the weirdest and worst fights of 2012. Maynard now sets his sights on the always dangerous Joe Lauzon at UFC 155 on December 29th, and he talked to UFC.com about his upcoming opponent.
"Lauzon will come to fight and I like that," suggested Maynard. "I think we’ll have a great scrap. If he shows up like I believe he will, it will leave a lot of openings for me to end it early. I’ll take this fight wherever I need it to go in order to get the win.
"He obviously feels he has a big advantage on the ground, but that doesn’t mean I won’t put him on his back. It’s a fight. Anything can happen and winning is the only thing that matters to me. I’m going to be looking to finish this fight at all times."
Not only did Lauzon ask for the Maynard fight, but apparently so did Maynard's camp.
"Lauzon is saying he asked for this fight and it’s funny because we made the call for it too," Maynard said. "It’s a fight that makes sense for what is going on the division, so let’s do this. I guess he’s a little better with the PR side of things and felt he needed to get to work on that early. It really doesn’t matter to me. We have to fight and I’ll fight that dude anywhere.
"I don’t really care what he thinks or the game plan he brings. My focus is on me and being the best I can be for the scrap. He’s built up his name; he looked good in his last fight, and this is an opportunity for me to get a win over an opponent with a solid name."
This is a big fight in the wild lightweight division. Lauzon is likely to come into this a a significant underdog and he should be. Maynard is the better wrestler and boxer, and Lauzon has never really beaten an elite fighter like Maynard, but he's pulled off two major upsets in his career vs. Jens Pulver and Melvin Guillard, so I'd never count him out. Lauzon does get stopped in virtually all of his losses, however, so this could be Maynard's chance to finally finish a credible opponent.
Regardless of the outcome, the winner of this one will certainly have a strong case for at least a #1 contender fight next year, as the division waits to see the results of Ben Henderson vs. Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone vs. Anthony Pettis.