by Dann Stupp on Oct 11, 2011 at 10:15 am ET
The more Joe Lauzon learned about his opponent's pre-fight camp, the more cockiness he saw from
Melvin Guillard, and the increasing number of boastful predictions he read from him, the more confident he grew.
While few people gave him much of a chance against the fast-rising lightweight contender, Lauzon said he found himself in a great mindset.
"I had so much confidence going into the fight," Lauzon told MMAjunkie.com Radio(www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I don't think I've ever had that much confidence for a fight."
As a 4-to-1 underdog, Lauzon both shocked Houston's Toyota Center and crushed Guillard's title hopes with a 47-second rear-naked-choke victory. The ending, which was part of the pay-per-view main card, was set up with a perfectly placed left hook as Guillard came charging in with a body shot.
Guillard's wide-open hook to the ribs put the wheels in motion, but Lauzon said his opponent's problems started long before that.
"I just don't think he took it serious," Lauzon said. "He was running around acting like the fight was already a done deal.
"It was so premature."
During his camp, Lauzon (21-6 MMA, 8-3 UFC) said he paid little attention to the pre-fight buzz or any of the media coverage for UFC 136. But on fight week – and with little to do to pass the time – he checked out the clippings. That's when he saw Guillard (29-9-2 MMA, 10-5 UFC) guaranteeing a knockout victory, calling himself a "jiu-jitsu killer," and talking about his improvement.
Lauzon wondered if Guillard was deluding himself.
"I didn't know it was going to go down exactly like that, but I knew I wasn't going to back up," he said. "I knew I wasn't scared of him. You can tell when a guy is training real hard and taking things serious, and you can tell when a guy is not. I've never fought someone where I was more confident he didn't take it serious.
"Everyone kept talking about how Melvin had changed and grown up, and this and that. Obviously, I don't see the guy, so I had to take it at face value. But I saw him the week of the fight, and I was like, 'This is not a guy who's taking anything serious.' ... It was all a load of crap. As the days went by, I got more and more confident."
Prior to UFC 136, Guillard's name dominated title talk. Many considered the Lauzon booking as little more than a tune-up fight. The Team Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter had posted a five-fight win streak with knockouts of
Waylon Lowe, Evan Dunhamand Shane Roller.
But Lauzon didn't understand how Guillard's win streak prompted a fundamental mischaracterization of his abilities.
"I think Melvin does a great job punching people when they try to take him down," he said. "He does a great job of getting back to his feet and all that stuff. But that's all stuff he had in the past.
"Everyone's praising his submission defense, and no one's had him on the ground. How did they know? He was doing nothing different."
Lauzon already his doubts about Guillard's so-called improvement. But when he heard about the fighter's in-camp trip to Imperial Athletics, a detour through Louisiana, and the rest of a schedule that didn't hint at any seriousness ahead of UFC 136, Lauzon grew confident.
"I knew I put in the time, and I wasn't convinced he did," he said.