Can Massachusetts Fighter Joe Lauzon Steal the Show at UFC 200?

The Bay State native has a chance to outshine the competition at the historic event.

Joe Lauzon

Photo by Jeff Haynes / AP

When Joe Lauzon steps into the Octagon against Diego Sanchez at UFC 200 on Saturday night, it will be the Massachusetts native’s 21st fight for the mixed martial arts promotion.

While the evening will be a big milestone for both the Bay State brawler as well as the UFC, the veteran fighter has become accustomed to the pageantry and violence that comes with a must-see event. That’s why he seems so calm on the eve of what may be the wildest fight of his life.

“It’s kind of routine,” Lauzon said. “I’ve been in there enough to know that it doesn’t matter who’s watching, it doesn’t matter where the fight is, it doesn’t matter what the implications are. None of it matters.”

Even though he’s used to marque match-ups, Lauzon is still excited to test his skills against Sanchez, a fellow former early contestant on the promotion’s long-running reality series The Ultimate Fighter. Both products of the popular show have become two of the most exciting fighters in UFC history, owning a combined 20 postfight bonus awards.

Lauzon was long considered the bonus king, earning 13 extra paychecks for his spectacular fights, submissions, and knockouts, however he was dethroned by Nate Diaz after his devastating win over featherweight champion Conor McGregor at UFC 196.

The Massachusetts native hopes to reclaim his crown with a win over Sanchez, earning a coveted bonus award for another ridiculous, bloody brawl.

“He brawls like an absolute mad man,” Lauzon said. “He draws people into his game of playing Rock’Em Sock’Em Robot.”

“It’s going to lead to pure chaos,” he added. “It’s going to be like a Dragon Ball Z cartoon or something.”

The pair of UFC veterans were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 180, however injuries forced both men off the card. Fans were pretty bummed over the cancellation of this epic face-off.

“People got so f–king excited for that fight,” Lauzon said. “People were photoshopping movie posters, like The Shining, There Will Be Blood.”

Now that they finally get to go after each other in Las Vegas this weekend, the Wentworth Institute of Technology alum is confident that his throwdown with Sanchez will outshine the other big fights at UFC 200.

Lauzon believes that their willingness to brawl and leave it all on the line will make for a more memorable match-up than fights like Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt, or Daniel Cormier vs. Anderson Silva.

“I definitely think we can,” Lauzon said. “I don’t know if anyone is going to fight with the reckless abandon like me and Diego are going to fight with. We’re just going to go out there and try and maul each other.”

That said, the veteran martial artist is glad that he’s fighting earlier in the night so he can enjoy what may be a UFC event for the history books.

“It’s a good night to be a fan,” Lauzon said. “It’ll be nice to go out there, get my fight over with and sit in the back room, just get fat, eat lots of food, and watch in the background.”