411mania.com Interviews: Joe Lauzon and Urijah Faber
While in Las Vegas for the UFC 137 weekend, I got the chance to attend a special preview event for UFC Undisputed 3 held by THQ. At the event at the Marquee at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, I was able to catch up with some familiar UFC fighters to talk about their upcoming fights as well as this exciting new UFC videogame which also features a Pride fighting mode:
Veteran UFC lightweight fighter, Joe Lauzon (8-3, UFC; 26-6, MMA), is coming off quite possibly the most important win in his career. It took him less than a minute to finish and submit Melvin Guillard at UFC 136. Guillard was on an impressive win streak at the time and was being touted as a future title contender in the UFC lightweight division. Lauzon now sets his sights on the former WEC Lightweight Champion, Anthony Pettis. Lauzon, a Boston native, is also a big time gamer, so he was right at home at the THQ UFC Undisputed 3 event.
Jeffrey Harris: So what do you think of UFC Undisputed 3?
Joe Lauzon: I think it’s awesome. I think the transitions, the grappling is much more authentic. I think that they filled a lot of the gaps — the positioning things too. You have a lot more positions like open guard and things like that. Before it was like if someone was on their back and you’re standing far back — now you can get up much closer to them and get in that middle range. I think they did a good job filling in all those gaps.
Jeffrey Harris: And you’re a big time gamer, right?
Joe Lauzon: I play a lot of videogames.
Jeffrey Harris: This must be like heaven for you?
Joe Lauzon: It is like heaven for me. I play a lot of videogames. So I definitely appreciate and I pay attention to a lot of the smaller things going on.
Jeffrey Harris: What do you think of the new submission system? I think it’s a lot more streamlined and now I can the sense of, OK, now I can see what I’m doing when I got for a submission.
Joe Lauzon: Yeah, it definitely makes a lot more sense. The old control system was a little bit tough to deal with. Especially if you didn’t play the game a lot. If you play the game a lot, you can figure it out. I love that they made it kind of a little bit easier control scheme now. So now it’s up or down [on the analog stick], you can figure out what you’re trying to do. It’s not too complex.
Jeffrey Harris: What do you think of Pride mode?
Joe Lauzon: Pride mode is awesome. The very first game I played, I went into Pride mode. It’s awesome to be able to knock someone down and run over and kick him in the head or you know just more options. So it’s pretty cool.
Jeffrey Harris: So what are you playing right now? Gears of War 3? Batman: Arkham City?
Joe Lauzon: I’m playing a little bit of Gears of War 3. Haven’t gotten into Arkham City yet. Battlefield 3, I’m having a lot of fun with that. It sucked because I got to play Battlefield for a couple of days, and I had to leave to come here. But when I get home, I’ll be putting a lot of time in on that.
Jeffrey Harris: You got to be on a high right now. You just pulled off one of the biggest wins of your career.
Joe Lauzon: Yup.
Jeffrey Harris: I think that win over Melvin Guillard definitely puts you up there now. Are you thinking about Anthony Pettis right now?
Joe Lauzon: Yeah, we’re looking at Anthony Pettis for February. So I would like to have a little bit of time to just kind of take it easy and relax and not worry about it. But it’s already running through my head. So I’ll take a couple of weeks, nice and light, let all those nagging injuries heal from those last couple of fight camps. And we’ll get a fresh start and we’ll get to it.
Jeffrey Harris: Now, I know you’re a Boston kid, but I really appreciate that you wore that Texas shirt for UFC 136. That’s a great shirt and as a Texan, I really appreciated it. How did you come up with that shirt?
Joe Lauzon: We’ve done some kind of shirt for pretty much every single one of my fights back to like my first fight in the UFC, we had a Fear No Evil shirt for [Jens] Pulver. So we’ve always had some kind of shirt, and we were trying to come up with something and I saw one of the UT shirts. I love that burnt orange color. And I’m like, “we got to use those colors.” So we just did the state of Texas, tossed the JL logo on it, and that was it.
Jeffrey Harris: It’s just a simple and awesome shirt.
Joe Lauzon: I definitely like simplistic stuff. I think that a lot of times, guys get a little bit too crazy with the signs on t-shirts, but I’m all about simple.
Jeffrey Harris: What do you think of Pettis and what do you make of his last fight?
Joe Lauzon: Pettis is good, you know super tough, very exciting, one of those guys I like to watch. So I’m looking forward to it. He fought Jeremy Stephens to a decision and he beat him. I fought Jeremy Stephens back a couple years ago, but I submitted him. So I kind of feel like I have the advantage over Pettis on the ground, but I think he’s going to have a slight advantage on the feet. But we’ll see how it plays out.
Jeffrey Harris: Any people or sponsors you want to give a shout out to?
Joe Lauzon: I’d like to thank Jitz, KO Reps, Sprawl Fight Shorts, Gamma Labs, and FORM Athletics.
Lauzon is not featured in the initial roster for UFC Undisputed 3, but he will be made available in the form of DLC content.
“The California Kid” Urijah Faber (1-1, UFC; 25-5, MMA) also made an appearance at the THQ UFC Undisputed 3 event in Las Vegas. Faber most recently is coming off a loss against reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz from UFC 132 last July. Faber hopes to get another crack at Cruz in a highly anticipated rubber match as both fighters each have a win over the other. However, first Faber will have to get through the former WEC bantamweight king, Brian Bowles, who Faber is scheduled to face at UFC 139 on November 19.
Jeffrey Harris: So Urijah how is it to finally be in a UFC videogame that has bantamweights and featherweights in it?
Urijah Faber: I’m excited man. I think it’s really cool. It’s a matter of time I think before the world is exposed to the smaller guys and the videogame is going to help. They did a great job with it and it’s cool to see man.
Jeffrey Harris: Are you a gamer at all? Are you into this stuff?
Urijah Faber: You know I haven’t been traditionally but throughout time, the games that I have liked have all been fight games. You know, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, Street Fighter, and UFC Undisputed are right up my alley.
Jeffrey Harris: How do you like getting to play as yourself? How does that feel?
Urijah Faber: I haven’t played with myself yet, but I played against myself and I won. Either way, I won.
Jeffrey Harris: You came up short last July against Dominick Cruz, but how important was it for you to be in the first ever UFC bantamweight title main event?
Urijah Faber: Yeah, it means a lot. I’ve put a lot of time into this sport, dedicated my life to it, and of course I wanted to get that win and I was doing my best to get it but it’s really an honor to be the main event, fighting for a title. And I feel like I’m going to have many more in the future.
Jeffrey Harris: What do you think of Brian Bowles as a fighter and how do you like that fight?
Urijah Faber: Brian Bowles is very tough. He’s a dangerous guy. He’s got heavy hands. He’s got submissions that end fights. And I think he’s a well rounded fighter, but I think I’m better.
Jeffrey Harris: Not to look passed this fight, but you and Cruz are 1-1 now. Another fight would be the trilogy and the rubber match. We always look for that in MMA. You and Cruz have that great rivalry. Would you like to fight him again?
Urijah Faber: Definitely, I think the whole objective in this sport is to be the best and right now he’s got that belt and that’s what I want to have. And I think I was very, very close to beating him last time. It comes down to the judges on that one, but it’s something that needs to happen again. 1-1 and that last fight was way too close.
Jeffrey Harris: In your biased opinion, why do you think Cruz is so tough to beat?
Urijah Faber: I think he’s elusive and he’s pretty durable. He stays in great shape so it’s hard to really in too vulnerable [of a] position, and if you do get him there, he recovers fast. I mean I knocked him down three times and he recovered really quickly. And then he moves a lot.
Jeffrey Harris: And do you like Chad Mendes if he fights Jose Aldo? I think that’s a great fight too.
Urijah Faber: It’s a great fight. It’s a great match-up. Both are really great athletes and have different strengths and weaknesses and I think Chad’s the guy to give him the most trouble and beat him.
Jeffrey Harris: Any sponsors or people you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
Urijah Faber: I’d like to thank my management, MMA Incorporated.com. And all my sponsors, thanks a lot: AMP Energy, K-Swiss, FORM Athletics, and all the fans. Thank you guys.
UFC Undisputed 3 hits Xbox 360 and PS3 on February 14. Thank you to Urijah Faber and Joe Lauzon for speaking with us. Also thanks to THQ for having us at the event.