Days after Robbie Lawler’s first defense of the UFC Welterweight Championship, boxing coach Matt Pena has decided to resign from the champion’s team. Pena will continue to coach boxers, but will be taking some time from coaching MMA fighters for the time being.
“It is with deep regret that I’m resigning as boxing coach for Robbie Lawler, ending over 10 years of dedication to the UFC welterweight champion,” Pena told ESPN‘s Brett Okamoto. “I have received tremendous satisfaction knowing that I am one of the few that told people years ago that he was the best welterweight in the world.”
Robbie Lawler truly started to shine in his 2013 return to the octagon. Lawler went on a three fight win-streak that led to a fight for the vacant UFC Welterweight Championship with Johny Hendricks at UFC 171. Hendricks would win by way of unanimous decision, but Lawler would have a chance at redemption at UFC 181 when he met Hendricks once again for the gold.
It was a grueling five-round fight, but Lawler would have his hands raised this time when the judges’ decision was announced.
“There are really only two things left that I’ve wanted to help accomplish in the sport of MMA. One was watching Robbie enter the Hall of Fame, which I’m sure he will at the end of his reign. The only other thing I wanted to do was help him get a win over Georges St-Pierre, who I’m sure will never come back after what he saw on Saturday. So it’s safe to say I’ve done all I can do in this sport as a boxing coach.”
Pena is looking to keep the reasoning behind his resignation low-key. “My reasons for stepping away I will keep private right now. The only folks that I feel are entitled to that information are me and Robbie.”
“I would like to thank Pat Miletich, Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver, Tim Sylvia and Spencer Fisher for giving me an opportunity of proving the effectiveness of my grandfather Alvino Pena’s boxing style in the sport of MMA. I’ve helped three men get UFC championships and was privileged to work with a couple of other champions during their career. I know that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with legends, a small group of athletes in Iowa who became the best in the world.”
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