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Victory over Pettis earns me title shot - Lauzon

ESPN staff
February 22, 2012 « McIlroy the most talented ever - Gary Player | Chartbeat test »

Joe Lauzon is treating this weekend's UFC 144 battle with Anthony Pettis as a lightweight title No. 1 contender bout.

Lauzon and Pettis battle on the same card as lightweight champion Frankie Edgar's title defence against Ben Henderson. A strong showing, Lauzon believes, would put him next in line.

The explanation comes down to timing. Along with Lauzon and Pettis, UFC on Fox 3 combatants Nate Diaz and Jim Miller are at the top of the contenders pile, but their fight is not until May.

"Nate Diaz and Jim Miller are going to fight in May, Frankie Edgar is defending his title against Ben Henderson this weekend, and the winner is going to want to fight a few months later," Lauzon told MMA Junkie.

"With Diaz and Miller, you're going to be talking August [for their next fight]. I think that's a long time [for the champion] to wait all the way until August, so I think that if I come away with a win on Saturday, I think I'm the next guy in line."

Lauzon v Pettis has all the makings of a classic. Two men with immense talent, Pettis more so when striking and Lauzon on the mat, but both men are happy to fight anywhere and - most importantly - will willingly engage.

Lauzon has won four Submission of the Night and two Fight of the Night bonuses in his last six bouts, and he plans to pick up another cheque to give White a prospect he cannot ignore.

"People give me crap sometimes about conditioning and cardio and things like that, but I'll argue that guys that are known for having great cardio are not great finishers," Lauzon said.

"I would rather go out there and push the pace and put guys away. If I don't put guys away and I end up getting tired, then so be it. I'd rather be a fighter like that because that's a fight I'd rather watch than the guy who's going to take somebody down and is known for having good cardio because he doesn't do anything for five rounds.

"Everybody talks about how Pettis has amazing stand-up and I have great ground. But I think Pettis has good ground, and I think I have good stand-up [too]. He might still have the advantage on the feet a little bit, and I might have the advantage on the ground, but I think it's going to be a lot closer than people realise.

"If I go out and fight Pettis and I eke out a decision, that doesn't look that great. But if I go out there and I smash him, that looks great, and that's when I start complaining that I need a title shot.

"We both enjoy fighting exciting fights. I'm going to bring it. He's going to bring it. I think it's got Fight of the Yea written all over it."

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