was believed to have exhausted the vast majority of
options during his 15-plus years inside the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
. At least one remains.

“J-Lau” will test his considerable mettle against Donald
in a three-round UFC
lightweight pairing on Saturday at the Footprint Center in
Phoenix. Lauzon, who turns 38 in a matter of weeks, has lost three
of his past four bouts. He has not competed since he buried
with punches in 93 seconds at UFC on ESPN 6 on Oct. 18,
2019—more than 900 days ago.

As Lauzon makes final preparations for his return to the cage, a
look at some of the rivalries that have helped shape his career to
this point:

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 6 semifinalist submitted Lauzon with
a kimura in the second round of their UFC 123 lightweight feature
on Nov. 20, 2010 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills,
Michigan. Sotiropoulos, a longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt,
brought it to a close 2:43 into Round 2. Lauzon roared out of the
gates in impressive fashion, as he popped his counterpart with a
series of straight right hands in the first round and stuffed an
early single-leg takedown attempt. Sotiropoulos rebounded to take
mount in the closing seconds of the period but surrendered position
in search of an armbar. As the middle stanza dawned, it became
clear Lauzon was not the same fighter. Visibly winded and slowed,
his mouth agape, he did not have the steam necessary to hold off
Sotiropoulos. The Aussie scrambled into side control, isolated
Lauzon’s arm and finished him there. It remains Lauzon’s only
submission defeat as a member of the UFC roster.

Lauzon on Aug. 4, 2012 submitted the former
World Extreme Cagefighting
champion with a triangle choke in
the third round of their memorable UFC on Fox 4 lightweight
showcase at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The end came 2:44
into Round 3. Varner, who filled in for the injured Terry Etim on
short notice, staggered Lauzon with one right hand in the first
round and decked him with another. He swarmed “The Ultimate
Fighter” Season 5 semifinalist on the ground to no avail and
returned to his corner between rounds visibly fatigued. Lauzon sank
his teeth into the fight in the second period, where he twice moved
to the Arizona-based lightweight’s back and ultimately mounted him
with roughly half a minute remaining in the round. Varner secured a
takedown in Round 3, only to be swept by the opportunistic
Massachusetts native. Lauzon then trapped his counterpart in a
triangle during the transition and coaxed the tapout.

The former
Cage Fury Fighting Championships
titleholder spilled Lauzon’s
DNA all over the cage and captured a unanimous verdict from “The
Ultimate Fighter 5” graduate in the gory UFC 155 co-main event on
Dec. 29, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. All three
cageside judges scored it 29-28. A series of savage standing elbows
from Miller opened a sickle-shaped laceration near his opponent’s
right eye in the first round, and before long, blood was
everywhere. He hit Lauzon with everything in his considerable
arsenal, from leg kicks to left crosses, but could not break him.
Lauzon fought on, even as pools of his blood dotted the Octagon. He
made a last-ditch attempt at an unlikely victory in the closing
seconds of Round 3, where he trapped Miller in a leg lock and
transitioned to a front choke. However, the horn sounded, closed
the door on thoughts of a Lauzon comeback and brought an end to one
of the bloodiest battles in UFC history.

Lauzon opened a gruesome cut on the Sikjitsu star and forced a
second-round stoppage in their wild UFC Fight Night 50 attraction
on Sept. 5, 2014 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket,
Connecticut. Referee Herb Dean
called a halt to the festivities on the advice of the cageside
physician 2:14 into Round 2, much to Chiesa’s chagrin. Lauzon
seemed discouraged at times but walked through stiff jabs from
“Maverick” in the first round, answering a takedown from “The
Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 winner by sweeping to top position,
transitioning to the back and fishing for a rear-naked choke. They
exchanged on the feet late, building anticipation for Round 2.
There, Lauzon tore into Chiesa’s body with punches and cracked him
with a brutal knee from the clinch, opening a horizontal gash above
his right eye. Dean called for the doctor soon after and, upon
closer inspection, was advised to stop the fight.

The onetime Strikeforce
champion put away Lauzon with punches in the first round of their
UFC Fight Night 120 kick-starter on Nov. 11, 2017 at the Ted
Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Guida nailed the
coffin shut 67 seconds into Round 1. He staggered Lauzon with a
clubbing overhand right, floored him with an uppercut and pounced
with overwhelming force. Punches, elbows, hammerfists and forearm
strikes fell next. Lauzon was powerless to stop the avalanche of
punishment. Referee Mike King
gave him every opportunity to recover before stepping in on his
behalf. Many still mark it as the unofficial end of Lauzon’s time
as a relevant contender in the UFC.