A little more than eight months since undergoing knee surgery, UFC lightweight prospect Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon (18-4, 5 KOs, 13 submissions) is fully recovered and anxious to get back into The Octagon.
Lauzon, star of The Ultimate Fighter 5 television reality show, had ACL surgery and his meniscus repaired on his right knee March 6. He is tentatively scheduled to return to UFC action in early January.
Joe has a torn ACL in his right knee for 1 ½ years before requiring surgery and being sidelined. “I felt looseness in my knee but could still train,” Lauzon explained. “Doctors at that time said they didn’t want to disturb it. And it wasn’t affecting me much. Two weeks before my last fight (Feb. 8, 2009 – WSUB2 vs. Jeremy Stephens) I felt it like it wasn’t wuite right warming up. I tried to take him down in the first round and I fell over. I needed stitches in my head and couldn’t train for a week, but when I returned my knee completely locked-up.”
Doctors felt Joe wouldn’t be able to fight for 14 months, but he’ll be back in action in less than 10, largely due to a committed rehabilitation schedule and his age (24). “I’ve always been able to recover quickly and bounce right back,” he noted. “Being 24 probably helped, too. I was lucky to have an awesome doctor (Dr. Pavlovich) and physical therapist. They let me push at an aggressive pace. I am 100-percent now; my knee is stronger than ever. It (injured knee) hurt me grappling — triangle chokes – and anything my that stressed my knee felt loose. Now it’s better than ever. My ‘bad knee’ is more solid than my other knee. I did so much in rehab to strengthen it.”
“A lot of people have told me a mental block would be the toughest part coming back to fight. For me, though, that’s not a problem. I have faith in my doctor and coach. They told me my knee is strong, I feel the same way, and I’m not going to worry about it. I’ve always been an instinctive fighter and that’s the way I’m going to continue to be. I’ve talked to a lot of people. My strength-and-conditioning coach (Steve Baccari) has been through it all. He’s had surgery on both knees, so he knows where I am coming from. I know all about the knee now – where to apply pressure and where to be careful. ”
Lauzon not only fights, he coaches about 30 members of Team Aggression at Lauzon MMA in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. When he wasn’t able to workout, Joe played a lot of Xbox, watched a lot of TV and movies, and the Wentworth College graduate with a degree in computer science, naturally, spent a lot of time on line.
“I was still in the gym two weeks after surgery,” Lauzon concluded. “I was helping out and running classes. Before surgery, I was laid-up in bed but afterwards started going to shows to support and watch our guys fight. I just couldn’t get on the mat. Now, I’m ready to go and I’ve felt this way for a while. This has been my longest break. I’m chomping at the bit. I must have fought 30 times in six years, so I can’t wait to get back.”