On Friday, March 23, in the third episode of The Ultimate Fighter® Live reality show on FX, Villa Ridge, Missouri native Justin Lawrence (4-0 in his pro mixed martial arts career) will take on Brazilian veteran Cristiano Marcello (13-3) of Curitiba, as they continue their quest to be the next Ultimate Fighter and receive a six-figure contract from the UFC and a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Lawrence on training for the big fight
“I’m definitely training hard for my upcoming fight again Marcello. It’s exciting, nerve-racking. He’s a very good grappler so I really want to try and stay on my feet and make him feel uncomfortable as much as possible. I don’t want this to turn this into a Jiu Jitsu match cause I know that’s his strength. Dom’s crew (Team Cruz) has been doing a phenomenal job in training and preparing me and I’m pumped. I just have to fight my fight.”
Lawrence on being chosen No.1 overall
“Being chosen first, in a way, kind of made me feel confident but then again, I kind of felt a target being placed on my back. It’s definitely more pressure. A lot of people expect a lot more from me now. All I can do is go in there and fight. I’ve been fighting since I was six-years-old.”
Lawrence on life in the House
“Life hasn’t been too bad (chuckle). I miss the girls and I miss the radio! Other than that it hasn’t been that bad, better than I expected. I’m sure this week may get a little rough towards the end of the week, when I’m trying to sleep and the rest of the guys are staying up late and hanging out. We’ll see how it goes. It’s all part of it.”
Lawrence on missing St. Louis and his family
“I’m definitely missing my mom, my dad, my sister and my brother, and all my family and friends back home. I didn’t really realize how much my support team meant to me until they weren’t here. I know they’re supporting me and cheering me on but it’s weird not having them here.
My dad is the only guy that has ever wrapped my hands and been in my corner, so it’s definitely weird having someone else do it. I know this is the best for my career and I know he thinks so too, so that helps.
I know they’re (his family) going to be watching on TV and I wish I could get on the phone and ask him (dad) what he thinks cause I’m sure he’s thrilled and I know my mom’s a really proud mom. I miss them a lot.”