And so, Massachusetts native Lauzon had to content himself with watching a UFC event in his backyard rather than compete in it. But if it were up to UFC President Dana White, he wouldn’t be competing in the octagon at all.
“It wasn’t that his services weren’t needed,” White said at the post-UFC 292 press conference. “The card was full at the time that he was asking. … I would like Joe to retire, too.”
Lauzon, 39, has been semi-retired for the past four years, most recently competing in the octagon in 2019. Two separate fights with Donald Cerrone were cancelled in 2022 when both suffered health complications outside the cage. Lauzon said he’d be open to more fights, but only if they intrigued him.
A fight in front of his hometown crowd was just such an option, but White cited former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman’s ill-fated comeback at UFC 292 in support of his opinion that Lauzon should hang up his gloves.
“It gets to the point, it’s like Chris Weidman, we were talking about Chris Weidman a minute ago,” White said. “Weidman reached the pinnacle of the sport, and did it in spectacular fashion, knocking out one of the greatest of all time, and what’s now? Why? To come back and feel it one more time? He felt it tonight, and he blew his knee out, and he’s going to have to go through crazy surgery again and recover from it. It’s just like, why? You’ve already done it all. You’ve accomplished everything that you could hope to accomplish in the UFC.
“And saying that, so is Joe Lauzon. Joe Lauzon at one point held the most ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses. He’s been a part of The Ultimate Fighter. He’s done so much in the sport. You get to an age where it’s like, c’mon guys.”
Lauzon made his octagon debut in 2006 at UFC 64, knocking out former lightweight champion Jens Pulver in a massive upset. He went on to become a fan favorite for his action-first fighting style, which put him at No. 4 on the all-time list of post-fight bonuses with 15.
Lauzon competed three times in UFC events held in Boston, going 2-1 including a win over Jonathan Pearce in his most recent fight in 2019.
In a statement provided to MMA Fighting, Lauzon described the circumstances around his request to fight at UFC 292, White’s comments, and where he stands in his career.
Dana is not wrong about age or anything else. Don’t think I wasn’t thinking about that when I saw Weidman hurt his knee last night.
Dana is not wrong… and we’ve always had a great relationship and I know how rare it is to go out on top instead of face down like so many others.
I was never claiming I would fight “anyone, anywhere, anytime.” You hadn’t heard a boo out of me about fighting in the last 4 years with Covid, the Apex and everything else. If the previous Boston show was my last one, so be it… but I have been saying the entire time that if an opportunity makes sense, I am down for it.
I saw a perfect storm and said “this is a scenario that absolutely makes sense for me,” but it apparently didn’t make sense for the UFC.
I was never trying to use the media and fans to bully them into a corner, because that’s never been my style. I didn’t say a word about any of it until it was already weigh in day and clearly too late… but it started several months prior with the UFC.
If they come to me with a fight offer next week and it doesn’t make sense to me… I’ll be turning it down. Fighting in Boston would have been a good opportunity, but it didn’t pan out this time. I still love the UFC and they have always been great to me… but I was obviously disappointed it didn’t work out to get on this card.