My first recollection of Robbie Lawler was back when he was part of the Miletich Fighting systems team. Back then he fought at middleweight and had already established himself as a fighter who’s preference was for his opponents to assume the prone position at their earliest possible opportunity. Rather than eke out a decision or God forbid, go for a submission.
It was that style and maturing ferocity which he brought to his bout with Nick Diaz back in UFC 47. In a fight, he had entered as favourite. Lawler was soon put to task by the slick boxing and non-stop pace of Diaz, who stunned then stopped Robbie early in the second round. It’s one of those classic moments from the earlier years of the sport. But in the long game, was but a bump in the road for the Miletich protege.
Robbie has always been known for his vicious and aggressive style. Not a fighter to take his time and break his opponent down piece by piece. If I can think of an analogy to best describe him, he is more akin to a wrecking ball being used to push a thumbtack.
Always super-aggressive, always swinging for the fences and searching for a cold stoppage. It’s a fighting style which has gained him a substantial fanbase. And created some of the most brutal moments in the sports relatively short history.
The Good Old Days
Back in Strikeforce when Lawler faced the always dangerous Dutch striker Melvin Manhoef. Feared for his own deadly striking game consisting of Dutch kickboxing and some nasty hands. It looked like Manhoef would get the better of Robbie early, tenderising his leg like you would a good rib eye.
As Lawler struggled to maintain his balance while hobbling around on one good leg. It looked for all the World like it wasn’t going to be his night. That was until 3.33 in the very first round when he landed one of his signature overhand rights flush. Separating Melvin from his senses and giving his fans yet another moment to remember in his ruthless discography.
And the moral of this story? It’s that Robbie Lawler has been doing his thing since before it was cool. Before there were big sponsorship deals and many couldn’t even make a living from the sport.
Always his own man, never one to do much pre-fight talking. But rather let the rage he carries inside, out, once the cage door closes. And what better example of said quality other than when he met fellow man of few words, Rory MacDonald, back at UFC 189.
In what for some has been described as the greatest fight in the sport’s history. Lawler and MacDonald went to the very depths of hell, and back. To give the fans one of the most iconic fights ever witnessed. In a back and forth war that set the bar for all those that followed. Forever changing the trajectory of MacDonald’s future in the sport.
With a string of Championships under his belt, outside that of the UFC welterweight title. Robbie Lawler sits right on the cusp of having spent half his life being a professional mixed martial arts fighter. It’s a homage to the desire and will he brings whenever he sets foot on the canvas.
bring the chaos
And at UFC 240, when faces the former Interim Welterweight Champion Colby Covington. In a title eliminator that will give the winner a shot at Kamaru Usman. For Covington, its opportunity to show the doubters that he does, in fact, deserve to be there. Something many have been questioning for as long as I can remember.
For the former Champion Lawler, it’s his chance to grasp the nettle one more time. And maybe, just maybe once again claim the top spot in the UFC 170lb pecking order. At 37 and with such a rich and illustrious who’s who of former opponents. There’s few if any that would not smile if only to themselves, should the ruthless one once again reign supreme.
One thing needs to be made clear, if not already glaringly so. Robbie Lawler and not Colby Covington is the chaos. He lives it, he breathes it. And you can be sure he will bring it to Newark, New Jersey for the main event at UFC 240.
Images courtesy of sherdog.com, usatoday.com & planetmma.com