First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who helped me get ready for this fight. Everyone at RSD/Team Aggression, South Shore Sportfighting, Bishops’ Boxing and everyone else that at one time or another along the way has taken the time to show me something or help me out. I really do appreciate all of you. It was more than just me in there, it was a team effort… we were all in there.
I want to thank my sponsors… Sprawl, MMA.tv, Xyience, Bullshido, NAGA and Deathwish Inc.
I would also like to thank the UFC, Dana White, Joe Silva, Greg, Donna, Sean, Beth and everyone else.
Here are my thoughts on the whole experience and the fight itself. Seems like I have repeated this about 1000 times now, hah.
We got into Cali on Tuesday, along with Rashad Evans (Rashad has the most dead on Mike Tyson impression, and knows every line Tyson has ever said in an interview. Funny as hell!) and Neal Rowe. Neal was talking about S1 at one point, and how it was real Muay Thai and being run in the United States now. I went and looked it up on YouTube, and found this (http://massmma.net/readMore.php?id=303 ). Very good find that I wouldnt have found otherwise.
Got to the hotel and checked in with the UFC Office. Filled out a bunch of paperwork and all that type of stuff, and signed about 200 event posters. This is when I realised the new signature is “J-Lau” because “Joe Lauzon” is just far too much to write a million times.
We checked into the room… and I won the bet on my bag being searched… again. I always bring my digital scale with me when we travel for fights. I’m sure to an Xray machine, it looks quite a bit like a bomb… so my bag gets searched everytime. Luckily I didnt bring any type of protein powder this time (Last time we went to Florida, they openned the top of the canister, and placed it back in my bag without screwing the top on. My clothes all smelled and tasted like Fruit punch that weekend. Bastards.)
We started the tradition of going to Outback Steakhouse every night we were there. Brandon tried hitting on the waitress, who said she just found out that day she was pregnant with her third kid. Brandon got shut down.
Woke up the next morning (Wednesday) to a frantic call from the UFC saying we had an issue with our medicals, and had to go down there. We go down and are told we are going to the Doctors. We end up running into all kinds of issues with getting them done, and spend around 7 hours at the Doctors before we get to go home. But hey… atleast we got it all taken care of. Back to the Outback!
Next Morning (Thursday), the only thing we are supposed to do for the day is a Press Conference around 1:00. Again, the phone rings and we have to go down for a “Talk in Private”. We go down and are told the doctor hasnt yet cleared us based on the Neuro exam. We dont know any more than that… but will be having a conference call at 3:00 with the doctor and the commission. Wonderful.
Go to the Press conference, and thats fine. Luckily, I dont have to answer anything because all the attention is on Jens, which is fine by me. MFS guys see the “Fear No Evil” shirt, and I’m catching glares. Whatever. Time to go back and see if the fight is even on…
Back at the hotel, the commission got lost on the way and were a little late… which isnt a big deal normally, but I am sitting there checking my phone for the time every 5 seconds because I want to know whats going on. They get there and we talk with the doctor. He says he is clearing me, but wanted to explain the reading of my Neuro exam and just make sure I understood what the deal was with it, and that its not a problem but should be kept an eye on. Excellent! Fight is back on. Now all we have to do is cut weight. But first… food. I am starving, havent eaten much all day. You guess it… we went to the Outback.
Next morning (Friday)… up at 7am. Woke up at 164. 9 pounds isnt too bad. We get into like 15 million layers, and go down to the gym. Run the treadmill, do our thing and jump in the Sauna. BJ Penn (We think) pops his head up at the window, and then turns around. Kinda weird. Chris jumps up out of the Sauna to try and get a better look, but whoever it was is gone. We do our Sauna sessions and get out… 157.5 after about an hour. Thats good because we have time still, and I should just go to the bathroom a few times and will be good. We start picking up my clothes… and one of my shoes are missing (they were outside the sauna while we were all in it). We look all over and cant find it. Now we start wonderring…. Did BJ steal my shoe? We are laughing our asses off that we think BJ Penn just stole my shoe. We all but give up and start leaving, and we find it in the trash on the way to the elevator. (I think BJ stole my shoe)
Back to the hotel room we hang out for a few hours… as the bastards I am with eat bagels and talk about their delicious waters and coffees and apple juices. Nice friends huh?
We go to the Arena. They give us gloves and let us choose a pair that fits, and write our name on them. We then see the commission to make sure all of our paperwork is in order, and they check on shorts colors. We were supposed to be white, and Jens was supposed to be black. There was some type of miscommunication, because Jens had shorts that were half black and half white. Now this is an issue because its not just shorts… its also sponsors and everything else that need to be put on them, Fortunately, Jens said he would do everything he could to try and get another pair of shorts made (the guys who make his shorts are out of Cali). Everything worked out, but still… its more last minute stuff.
We weigh in, start drinking water, pedialyte and gatorade. I’m starving, so we again go to the Outback. By this time, my family and a bunch of friends have gotten in, so 20 of us go to the Outback. After that… we need something to do. Jackass it is. Funny as hell. If you havent seen it, you really need to. I’m going to see it again for sure.
(Saturday) After that… bed time for me, while everyone else goes out and gets in around 6am. They had a good time… and I got to sleep, so that was good. More water and food, and I feel good leading up to the fight.
We leave the hotel and get to the venue. We are riding with David Louisea and his guys. GSP is in the van and he talks about his groin injury. Said someone was trying to take him down with a single leg, and when he tried to throw the guy… he felt something strain but he kept training because it wasnt that bad. The next morning, he had a lot of trouble getting out of bed. Said he was back to about 95% by now, but it was more an issue of not being able to train enough to prepare. He said he wanted Matt to win so he gets his rematch. He thought the fight would be very close, but if he was absolutely forced to choose who he thought would win… he would choose BJ.
We get to the Venue. We share a dressing room and warmup area with Tyson Griffin, Eddie Sanchez and Jason Lambert. We meet with the commissioner assigned to us, and we get my hands wrapped. We sit there talking and just going over all the different ways I can win…. armlock, triangle, rear naked, guillotine… never in our list was a left hook knockout mentioned. Go figure. We talk about how this show has the same feel as a show we had back home that was in a huge arena like this… and how everything feels the same, and how I won that fight quickly after it seemed like “Oh shit… this is getting a little over our head”.
They call us to make the walk down to the entrance. Meet with Herb Dean to ask us if we have any questions. Right there is a TV with the live PPV on… I am watching the pre fight interview stuff, and listening to Rogan and Goldberg talk about us… and just waiting for them to call the first fighter out… oh wait… thats me. They tell us to go out and we walk down. Meet with John McCarthy, and we step into the Octagon for the first time. I thought it would be strange being in front of so many people… but there were so many that it seemed like they werent people…. they were just a crowd. Its like going to a football game and looking across the field at the other side of the crowd… very strange.
Jens makes his entrance, and I notice him blowing kisses to the crowd. Obviously from the influence of fighting in Japan. He is in the ring… and gets a ridiculously long intro… and its time to fight. I raise my hand to Jens to let him know I want to touch gloves, and he motions back at me. We come up, touch gloves and the fight is on.
Move to the left… keep stepping to the left… dont jump… step step step. I can hear Steve (my Boxing coach) in my head the entire time. Step step step. Jens takes a big step to get outside my lead leg… and thats what we were waiting for… throw a quick jab or slap hook and I shoot in for the single, drive through him and lift. WOW. That was too easy… cant believe we got it down this quickly. Jens tries to hip out, and I drive him into the cage. He starts to make it up to his feet, and I hit him with a good right hand to the face… and then I pick his right leg up and peel him off the cage. Back on him again. He quickly gets to his hip and working his way up the cage. I remember hitting him with (what felt like) a really solid elbow across the face. He starts to turn his back and I think about trying to jump and take the back, but decide against being reckless just yet… and I break away and circle.
We had talked about this situation quite a bit… Jens hates being on his back… so after we get him down once, he will be looking for the takedown. We throw another slap hook, and fake the shot… he sprawls but I am not under him… I grab his head and throw a right knee, and without even thinking about it follow up with a left hook and then a right straight. Hooks lands perfectly… cross misses him as he goes down. I jump on him and finish strong. Fight is over.
Holy shit. Holy shit holy shit. We just knocked out Jens Pulver.
What followed was like a dream… autographs, pictures (getting molested by some hot chick I took a picture with… is that even being molested?), interviews. The whole nine.
Back to work on Monday. So what did you do this weekend?