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There’s One More Jump For Clay Lautt To Make | UFC Fight Pass

In Nate Diaz Fashion, When Clay Lautt Was Told He Shook Up The World With His 2022 All-American Status, He Couldn’t Help But Smirk And Think To Himself That He Wasn’t Surprised

Clay Lautt may have surprised a lot of wrestling fans last year with his All-American status, but he certainly didn’t surprise himself.

The shock that a chunk of wrestling fans felt when the University of North Carolina’s Lautt finished eighth in the country lands somewhere along the border of validating and insulting for the sixth year senior.



On one hand, the praise and acknowledgement of his peers is fulfilling and satisfying, but the notion that he exceeded expectations by finishing as one of the top names in the country is where Lautt draws the line.

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“I think a lot of people I surprised just didn’t pay attention,” Lautt said. “I was a 10-seed, so I didn’t really outperform my seed. We’re out in the east coast and wrestling is based in the Northeast and Midwest, so a lot of people maybe don’t follow me as much as they should. I had a lot of significant wins on the year, was ACC champ in 2020, and was on the cusp of making All-American that year. I didn’t really surprise myself. To the people that I did surprise, maybe they just didn’t know about me, but that’s what I expect of myself. I know what I’m capable of.”

Pre-Fight Press Conference Highlights | UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira
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Pre-Fight Press Conference Highlights | UFC 281: Adesanya vs Pereira
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As if Lautt didn’t have enough incentive going into the season with the wave of fans in disbelief of his All-American status, he’s entering his final season in one of the most top-heavy divisions in the country at 174 pounds. The returns of Carter Starocci, Mekhi Lewis, Mikey Labriola and others have Lautt burning the midnight oil for a run at National Champion.



He’s come a long way, but there’s still a steep hike ahead to sit on the throne.



“It’s motivating and gives me something to train for every day,” Lautt said. “When I came into college I was getting beat in the room by a lot of dudes, and now I’m in a position where I rarely lose in the room. I’ve lost to these guys who are the top in the country just by a little bit, so it’s a signal to me that I need to do a little bit more, I need to learn a little bit more, find new ways to score and get a little bit more creative and add a couple more tools to the toolkit.”

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He’s the son of a fighter, an All-American and one of the scrappiest wrestlers in the game. He’s not going to put the names ahead of him on a pedestal. He faces all of the top names early and often in the season and he’ll use every trip to the mat as more than just a match; it’s a chance to absorb information and remind everybody on the podium who he is.



“I’ve made pretty significant jumps every single year,” Lautt said. “I think I’ve got one more significant jump to make. I’ll face number one and number two multiple times this year, so I’ll be able to see where I’m at before the National Tournament and it’s all on the line. I’ve been right there but I’ve got one more jump to make.”



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