Gray Maynard: 'Joe Lauzon doesn't respond when the pressure is on'

Joe Lauzon takes on Jamie Varner at UFC on Fox 4. Photo via EstherLin/MMAFighting

Earning 10 "Fight Night" bonus awards in 13 bouts inside the Octagon, Joe Lauzon doesn't lack the skills to get the job done. However, former two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight number one contender, Gray Maynard, believes Lauzon does not respond well to pressure, folding in big fights.

With losses to top contenders Anthony Pettis and Kenny Florian, "The Bully," feels "J-Lau" doesn't make the most of his "big" opportunities.

From his conversation with UFC.com:

"Lauzon is saying he asked for this fight and it's funny because we made the call for it too. It's a fight that makes sense for what is going on the division, so let's do this. I guess he's a little better with the PR side of things and felt he needed to get to work on that early. It really doesn't matter to me. We have to fight and I'll fight that dude anywhere. I don't really care what he thinks or the gameplan he brings. My focus is on me and being the best I can be for the scrap. He's built up his name; he looked good in his last fight, and this is an opportunity for me to get a win over an opponent with a solid name. This is a big step up for him and every time he's had an opportunity like this, it hasn't worked out too well. Other than his fight with Melvin Guillard, Lauzon hasn't responded when the pressure is on. We're going to scrap, and when it's all said and done, one of us will be closer to a title shot. This division is one of the most competitive in the sport. I know what it takes to be at the top of the weight class and I'm working my way back to that title one fight at a time. This is a big opportunity and I'm going to come into this fight with Lauzon more prepared than I've ever been. I'm going to prove why I deserve to be at the top and he doesn't."

Fresh off his win over Clay Guida, Maynard will throw down against the king of "Fight Night" bonuses, Lauzon, at UFC 155 on Dec. 29, 2012, in a pivotal 155-pound collision. With a win, Lauzon can make Maynard eat his words and prove he can rise to the occasion in big fights.

A win for Gray, can inch him closer to his third attempt at claiming the division title, after coming up short twice against Frankie Edgar. Do you agree with "The Bully's" sentiments? Who do you think will prevail in this battle of scrappy lightweights?

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