Former UFC number one lightweight contender Gray Maynard has been on the shelf for three months since we last saw him chasing and taunting Clay Guida during their fight in June.
However, Maynard already has his return date that’s set for December at UFC 155 when he’ll take on fellow TUF alum and the man who has only allowed one fight to go to a judges decision in his entire career in Joe Lauzon.
Maynard thinks he’s relatively close to another title shot, especially now that his nemesis Frankie Edgar has now moved down to the UFC featherweight division. Maynard spoke to UFC.com about his upcoming fight with Lauzon:
This is a big step up for him and every time he’s had an opportunity like this, it hasn’t worked out too well. Other than his fight with Melvin Guillard, Lauzon hasn’t responded when the pressure is on. We’re going to scrap, and when it’s all said and done, one of us will be closer to a title shot.
This division is one of the most competitive in the sport. I know what it takes to be at the top of the weight class and I’m working my way back to that title one fight at a time. This is a big opportunity and I’m going to come into this fight with Lauzon more prepared than I’ve ever been. I’m going to prove why I deserve to be at the top and he doesn’t.
Maynard is most likely referring to Lauzon’s fights with Kenny Florian and Anthony Pettis. Florian made short work of him and won via submission in 2008 although Lauzon had won three consecutive fights going into that bout.
Lauzon had won back-to-back fights including the Guillard fight where he was a sizable underdog before getting headkicked into oblivion by Pettis earlier this year at UFC 144. However, Maynard does like one thing about Lauzon’s game and it’s the fact that he comes to fight as evident the number of times he has finished or been finished by his opponents:
Lauzon will come to fight and I like that, 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.
The UFC lightweight division is certainly interesting now with Ben Henderson as the champion. He’ll be taking on Nate Diaz in his second title defense just a couple of weeks before Maynard and Lauzon get it on at UFC 155. Both Maynard and Lauzon look to put themselves ’in the mix’ with a win in December.