The Ultimate Fighter 5 semifinalist Joe Lauzon is eying a new place to call home, at least temporarily, according to The Patriot Ledger. Lauzon will likely be moving from Massachusets to Hawaii this fall or early next year.
Many may be wondering why Lauzon would consider changing anything in his MMA routine after his recent string of success. Boasting a 15-3 MMA record Lauzon debuted in the UFC last year as a major underdog against Jens Pulver but defeated the favorite just 48 seconds into the first round via TKO. He continued to impress in his next UFC fight, defeating Brandon Melendez last month on The Ultimate Fighter 5 finale with an impressive second round submission.
The reason Lauzon will be moving to the Aloha State is not a why but a who. His name? B.J. Penn.
Penn, who served as Lauzon’s coach on The Ultimate Fighter 5, is one of the UFC’s top lightweight fighters and a very skilled mixed martial artist. Penn came up short in three previous title fights failing to defeat Jens Pulver for the lightweight title and Matt Hughes for the welterweight championship. He fought to a draw against Caol Uno and the lightweight title was not awarded. He did successfully win the UFC welterweight championship in 2004 but left the organization before his first title defense and was stripped of the title.
Penn returned to the UFC last year and lost to both Georges St. Pierre and Hughes in welterweight bouts before he became a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 5 and dropped to 155 pounds to face fellow coach Jens Pulver on the finale of the show. Penn went on to win the fight with a rear naked choke in round number two. The fight earned “The Prodigy” a title shot this November against current lightweight champion Sean Sherk.
According to the report Penn urged Lauzon to move to the state to train with him and it appears Lauzon has taken Penn up on the offer. Lauzon said he still intends to visit Penn’s facility next month with the intention of moving to the island state to train for a year or two. Lauzon has completed just one fight on his nine-fight UFC contract and is rumored to be facing Spencer Fisher sometime this fall.
I have to say this is a smart move for Lauzon right now. Although he did well while training out of Massachusetts, Penn may be the fighter Lauzon needs to take his skills to the next level. There isn’t a conflict of interest in the partnership at this point as Lauzon would need several more wins in a row before he could potentially earn a title shot whether it is against Penn, Sherk, or another lightweight fighter. The partnership could become an issue sometime down the road should Penn eventually have to square of with Lauzon in a fight between two of the UFC’s more popular lightweight fighters.