Robbie Lawler is the perfect example of “never say never”. Fans were ecstatic to see “Ruthless” make his return at “UFC 157” in 2013 where due to the fact that he always gave them a show. Even though his run in Strikeforce was less-than-stellar, fans knew they would always get an exciting scrap when Lawler was in the octagon.
When it came to his ability to capture a championship at the time, though, fans and media members alike second guessed the chances of that happening. It had nothing to do with the fact that Lawler wasn’t capable of it; It was impossible for fans to imagine the UFC Welterweight Championship slung over the shoulder of anybody but Georges St. Pierre at the time. He was as dominant as any fighter had been and the chances of a challenger knocking him off his throne seemed unlikely.
Lawler raised eyebrows when he brutally knocked Josh Koscheck out in his return fight to the UFC and turned heads with his knockout win over Bobby Voelker. Fans’ tunes were quickly changing and the matchup of Lawler vs. GSP seemed more appealing as each day passed.
Unfortunately for Lawler, St. Pierre would retire on the same night Lawler could make the argument for a title shot at UFC 167. Lawler went on to capture the gold from Hendricks at UFC 181 and put on an epic defense against Rory MacDonald.
One of the reasons Lawler had a sudden increase in success is due to the fact that he is back in sparring; There was a point where the champion didn’t spar for SIX years! Lawler informed the public of it when he appeared on “The Fighter and The Kid” podcast (via. MMA Mania)
“You need that [sparring/early MMA experience] to a certain extent because you don’t want someone going through this path in the game and get into a fight and be like, ‘I don’t like to be hit’ or ‘I don’t enjoy this at all.’ If you come in right away, and are put to the fire right away, you can decide right away if this is for you. I took like six years off from sparring, but at the time I was like, ‘I know how to fight. I’ll just watch all these guys. I’ll break it down and learn mentally how to stay sharp,’ and it worked pretty well for a while. This is when I was in Strikeforce, even before that, while I was in Elite XC and ICON. I wasn’t sparring at all. When I was in Pride, I actually got hit and had vertigo and was just like, ‘I don’t need to spar for a bit.'”
Do you think Lawler would have been in the UFC sooner had he started sparring earlier? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!