Robbie Lawler (22-9, 1 NC) has had an incredible career resurgence after returning to the UFC at welterweight in 2013, winning all 3 of his fights (2 by knockout), that sees him ranked the 3rd welterweight in the UFC. His latest victory over Rory MacDonald earned himself a shot at the UFC welterweight title in the main event of UFC 171 opposite Johny Hendricks.
It’s hard to believe that Robbie Lawler is just currently 31 years old, seems like he has been around the sport of MMA forever. He began his career at 19 years old as a welterweight, moving on to fight in the UFC early in 2002 and went 4-3 before leaving the promotion in 2004. He later ventured onto Elite XC and Strikeforce as a middleweight, eventually capturing the Elite XC middleweight championship. However his success would be short lived, alternating wins and losses in Strikeforce saw him unable to build any real momentum throughout that time, going 3-5.
During the media conference call for UFC 171 (which can be heard here via MMA H.E.A.T.), Robbie Lawler opened up and told reporters that he never stopped believing in himself even during the times he suffered defeats in Strikeforce and in MMA.
“The thing is, is I’ve always believed in myself. I just believed that I was going to be the best in the world,” Lawler said. “and I’m glad in sport, in MMA and in the UFC, you can write your own stories and you don’t have to worry about what other people expect out of you. I expect greatness out of myself. So I push myself and I just always believed in myself no matter what anyone said. And I was willing to grind for the 14 years I’ve been doing this and I’m not going to stop.”
Throughout the many losses in his career, never once did Robbie Lawler contemplate giving up on his career, just finding answers to his own questions.
“It was always, why did this happen, what do I need to change, and how am I going to be able to fight at my best. That’s all I can control. I mean I just made life simple, just figured out what I needed to do to get better. And don’t let any of the losses get me down. And just come back stronger from it.
“I changed my diet, I worked out with a great wrestling camp. I switched camps and I went down to American Top Team. And ever since then I’ve just excelled and mentally I’m right where I need to be. I’m excited and I’m happy. Coming into the UFC, it gave me excitement and I was excited to be in front of everyone. I was excited to fight the best in the world and for the best organization in the world.” said Robbie.
Early in his career, Robbie Lawler never had his sights set on winning a championship, however that mentality changed when he entered his 2nd stint in the UFC.
“I didn’t really worry about titles for the longest time. Cause Matt Hughes was the UFC champion at the time, I just enjoyed fighting, I enjoyed pushing myself to the limit. And as I got older, I started to realize that I need those goals, I need to push myself to be more than just exciting. And I need goals, as soon as I was coming to the UFC, I put my sights on getting a title and fighting the best in the world. And that’s what I’ve been doing.”
The often soft spoken Robbie Lawler sees maturity in himself from his earlier days in the UFC, specifically when it comes to handling the media.
“Outside the ring, I’d never really wanted to do the PR. I’d never wanted to be in the light, I wasn’t ready to be in the light. I’m just a quiet guy who just loves to fight. And I think as I matured I’m ready to take that step embracing everything that has to do with the UFC and I’m ready to be out there in front of everyone and do what it takes to be a champion.” Lawler said.