NEMMA Fight Team Feature: Lauzon MMA


If you don’t know the name Joe Lauzon, you probably navigated to this site erroneously. Lauzon is one of the pioneers of New England MMA and is widely regarded as one of the most exciting fighters to ever set foot in the UFC octagon. I first saw Lauzon fight live in 2004. The event was Mass Destruction 15 and as I waded through the jam packed floor of the Avalon Night Club, I had no idea what to expect. Despite having grown up in the same hometown, I had no idea who Joe Lauzon was, and I had never seen him fight before. The lanky East Bridgewater native didn’t look like a typical fighter when he entered the ring, but his skills were apparent from the moment the opening bell rang. That night, he ran through David Gilrien and won his pro debut by first round submission. The rest, as they say, is history.


While his own MMA career is starting to wind down, Lauzon is still a prominent figure in the sport and has become a well known and successful coach. I had the pleasure of visiting Joe and his stable of fighters this summer in order to pick his brain and observe his training methods.


NEMMA: What made you gravitate toward martial arts and toward jiu jitsu/MMA in particular?

JL: I loved professional wrestling when I was in high school. I had a trampoline, my friends and I would wrestle on there, and it would inevitably end up turning into a Jiu-Jitsu match. I was the king of the neighborhood until a few friends started doing BJJ and then they started to win and I couldn't have that. So I signed up and re-established myself as the best in the neighborhood.

NEMMA: The first time I saw you fight live was at Mass Destruction 15 in 2004. How would you say the local MMA scene has changed since you were fighting locally?

JL: New England MMA was amazing early on. We had a very tight knit community because of the MassMMA website. We truly had the best fighters around fighting the other best fighters around. Things have changed now as guys that are chasing that next level generally train with their like-goaled peers, so training partners generally don't want to fight each other. That is the big difference. We have a lot of very good fighters smashing on other fighters that just are not at their level.


NEMMA: How do you feel fighters have progressed since those early days?

JL: The fighters of today are way better than the guys back then because we didn't have coaches that had been there. We had some great coaches but MMA was too new and we had a lot of different coaches with experience in different parts of MMA but not actual MMA fights.

NEMMA: Are there any martial artists or fighters who inspired you to start your MMA career?

JL: Not really to start. I loved watching guys like BJ Penn early on and tried to emulate his style though as I started to develop more skills.


NEMMA: Our readers are familiar with many of the established fighters from Lauzon MMA. Are there any relatively unknown guys/girls from the team we should keep an eye on in the future?

JL: We have so many good fighters that train with us on Saturdays and train with us throughout the week. I think one of the next guys to make a splash though will be Carlos Lozoya. Carlos moved from across the country and started training with us last year and he is an absolute monster.


NEMMA: How would you describe your coaching style and how would you compare it with other coaches you have seen?

JL: I have had a lot of fights and I really try to preach about doing the basics better than anyone else. People love to mix in the latest highlight move they saw on the UFC and try to impress people by teaching it, but I am the opposite. I want to see people ram the basics down your throat and force their game on you. I am way more impressed by phenomenal basics than I am with tricks. A body lock into a takedown isn't as sexy as some crazy trip or throw, but it's generally more effective.

NEMMA: If you could give one piece of advice to young mixed martial artists, what would it be?

JL: Stop chasing the professional fighter dream. Focus on school or a career, and if the professional fighter thing is meant to happen it will. The biggest lie ever is when people say "oh I don't have time for a real job, I need to train”. MMA is a wonderful hobby and passion, but if you think you can force a career out of it you are going to be sorely mistaken. I see so many people that stall their professional careers to chase being a professional fighter and it works out for so few people. They need to focus on their professional careers in tandem with training. I was finishing up my bachelors in computer science, working and training for the UFC all at once. There is no reason others can't do the same.


There are no mysteries with Joe Lauzon, he is succinct, straightforward, and honest. He is not the type to tell you what you want to hear in order to coddle you or make you feel better. If you are an aspiring MMA fighter, this is EXACTLY the type of person you want in your corner. MMA provides a unique form of entertainment for fans, but it is a serious sport full of serious people. If fighters do not take it seriously, they will inevitably pay the price. The attitude and coaching methodology employed by Lauzon ensures his fighters will be prepared when they step into the cage. He also focuses on relaying tactics that work in actual fights. Lauzon isn’t interested in teaching his students how to get into position and stall. He teaches his students how to do damage and win fights. If Joe lets you compete, you can rest assured you are ready! One look at the Lauzon MMA fight team results over the past decade makes that abundantly clear.


Lauzon MMA has produced nearly a dozen fighters who have appeared in the UFC in one form or another, and the next generation of Lauzon monsters is beginning to dominate the local MMA scene. Standout amateurs like Andrew Valdina, Joe Poirier, Dan Walsh, and Shane Wellman are hoping to replicate the professional success of predecessors like Randy Costa, Mike Rodriguez, Joe Proctor, Connor Matthews, Marty Navis, and Pat Gilbride to name a few.


Wellman made a statement in his amateur debut last month when he scored a vicious first round knockout of Steve Pyles at Cage Titans 55. The result was no surprise given the fact that Wellman’s strict dedication to training has led him to spend his days working his regular job from a mat-side table at Lauzon MMA. That’s not a joke. The man spent two hours training during my visit, stepped off the mat, and logged onto his work computer right there in the gym.



Dan “Only Dans” Walsh is a full time college student, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his MMA dreams either. He also scored an impressive win at Cage Titans 55 when he stopped John Lee with a triangle choke in under one minute. Walsh has quickly become a fan favorite in New England. His exciting style has endeared him to fight fans, while his boyish good looks and innocent charm have garnered the attention of single moms across the globe.


Valdina (pictured below) and Poirier (pictured left) have already combined for eight amateur wins and three amateur title fights. Poirier recently won the Cage Wars flyweight title, and Valdina will be making his professional debut at Cage Titans 56 next month. At age 25 and 26 respectively, these two gentlemen have taken anything but an easy road in their amateur careers. Instead, they have taken tough fights against seasoned competitors. Facing this level of competition so early in their careers will certainly have them prepared for the professional ranks, and it has also allowed them to amass a huge following on the local scene.


Time will tell whether or not these young guns have what it takes to reach the next level, but one thing is for sure. They are entrusting their careers to one of the most experienced, qualified, and capable MMA trainers in the country. If they have the skills, the mindset, and the commitment, Joe Lauzon will get them there.


I want to thank Joe Lauzon and everyone at Lauzon MMA for giving me access to their gym and their training. It was a rewarding experience and one that I'm looking forward to having again soon. Keep an eye out for all of Mr. Lauzon's pupils in the coming months as they look to further the legacy of their legendary coach.