“I catch a lot of crap sometimes about gassing and cardio and things like that. But I come out and I push hard. I can be in great shape, but when you push as hard as I push, it’s tough to maintain that pace… On one hand I could … be like everyone else and have great cardio and never finish fights, but I would rather push and try to finish people. And you know what, if I get tired because I was trying to finish guys? I can deal with that. I don’t ever want to be a guy that never finishes anyone but is known for having great cardio… We’re just going to put it on [Anthony Pettis]. I’m sure his gameplan is going to be to kind of ride out the pressure, pace in the first, and then take it to me in the second. But a lot of other guys have had that same gameplan and I’ve still overwhelmed them in the first. Like I said, it’s easy to have great cardio when you’re not really doing a whole lot of work.”

— Joe Lauzon on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani talking about the correlation between finishing fights and cardio

Joe Lauzon’s alright in my book. I’ll take a guy who goes for the finish any day over a guy who conserves his energy and point fights his way to a decision. That said, I’m not the guy in the cage either who’s job or a title run is on the line. There’s an incredible amount of pressure on fighters to win in the UFC, so I can see why some fighters choose to take the safer paths to victory. I’ll always have a little more respect for the guys who really go for it though.

As for his fight with Anthony Pettis this weekend, there could be a title shot at stake. Lauzon explained in the interview that he and Pettis were led to believe that one of them could be a last-minute replacement for Ben Henderson in case something happened to him.

“From talking to Joe Silva, he kind of led me to believe a little bit that part of the reason why me and Pettis were going out there was because if something happened with Ben, then one of us would step up and fight for the title. He didn’t completely come out and say it, but he was like, ‘it would be a really good thing to have two top-ranked guys out there in case something happened with Ben.'”

Does that mean Lauzon vs. Pettis is a number one contender fight? Not necessarily, but it definitely sounds like a possibility if one of them puts on a impressive performance Saturday night. Nate Diaz and Jim Miller are also looming out there, but they don’t fight until May, so the timing is definitely in Lauzon and Pettis’ favor.

Lauzon also said he was a little irritated with Melvin Guillard for telling everyone he beat himself. Joe’s response: “No, I smacked you in the face with my fist, and you went down and I choked you. I’m pretty sure I’m taking credit for that.” Nice one, J-Lau.

Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog