When Robbie Lawler made his return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (and 170-pound division) at UFC 157, few — if any — expected him to be a part of the welterweight title conversation eight months later.
That’s because Lawler (22-9-0, 18 KOs) lost three of his last four fights coming into the UFC, including his last fight under Strikeforce’s banner — which ended with Robbie getting outpointed by Lorenz Larkin.
If Robbie had fallen short during his UFC 157 bout against Josh Koscheck, it very well could have brought his second stint with the Ultimate Fighting Championship to an early end.
Of course, that’s not how things went down.
Robbie made a strong statement during his fight against Koscheck, forcing the TKO stoppage with a vicious barrage of punches. He followed that up with a head kick knockout victory against Bobby Voelker, before adding Rory MacDonald to his list of victims at UFC 167.
With the win, Robbie jumped from the tenth spot on the UFC’s welterweight rankings to the third spot, earning himself — at the very least — a number one contender fight. Depending on how things work out with Georges St. Pierre, who talked about taking a break from MMA following his split decision victory against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167, Robbie might find himself fighting for the title sooner rather than later.
If Lawler had his way, he’d square off against Hendricks next in an interim welterweight title fight while GSP contemplates his next move.
“I think we should probably do — like if George takes off for half a year or a year — Hendricks and I should fight for like an interim title. And when George comes back, I’ll beat him up too. Let’s do this,” Lawler said at the UFC 167 post-fight presser.
A Lawler vs. Hendricks matchup certainly makes sense considering the fact both men are ranked first and third respectively on the UFC’s welterweight rankings. It’s also a good matchup stylistically, since Robbie and Hendricks both prefer to stand and bang while primarily using their wrestling in reverse.
If GSP decides to ditch his plans to take a break from MMA, Lawler vs. Hendricks obviously won’t happen anytime soon since UFC president Dana White — who chastised GSP for his decision during the post-fight press conference — is bent on setting an immediate rematch.
“I’m in a better mood now. [I talked to GSP] about his problems [and] his problems aren’t as bad as he thinks they are,” White said at the UFC 167 media scrum. “I’m not Dr. Oz or anything, or whatever that guy’s name is, but Lorenzo [Fertitta] is still in there talking to him. We’ll get through this. I’m confident that he will come back.”
Hopefully, GSP has the courage to stand up to the UFC’s brass. The Canadian looked drained during the post-fight presser, and I personally don’t want to see him pressured back inside the Octagon if his mind isn’t into fighting right now.