robbie-lawler-26.jpgSEATTLE – It’s only been two fights, but it’s hard to argue when Dana White talks about the old Robbie Lawler vs. the new Robbie Lawler.

Lawler (21-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC) on Saturday knocked out Bobby Voelker (24-10 MMA, 0-2 UFC) with a vicious head kick early in the second round at UFC on FOX 8 at KeyArena Seattle. It was just his second fight since returning to welterweight after a long run at middleweight.

But those two fights – the latter of which came on live national TV on FOX – have been impressive enough to already have folks talking about where he fits in in the welterweight title picture. Sure, at 5-5 in his past 10 – 3-5 in Strikeforce, including a 185-pound title fight loss to Ronaldo Souza in 2011 – few are saying he should be next in line.

But in taking out perennial contender Josh Koscheck in the first round in February in his return to the UFC after more than eight years away, and Saturday’s highlight-reel KO of Voelker, Lawler now likely commands a fight against someone also clamoring to be next in line.

“I’m going to fight whoever they put in front of me, and I’m ready to go,” Lawler said at Saturday’s post-event news conference in Seattle. “I’ll talk to Dana, talk to (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva and talk to my manager and figure out who I’m fighting next.”

Before the news conference, the crew on the UFC’s post-fight show on FUEL TV brought Lawler on and asked if he’d be interested in a fight with Rory MacDonald, who employed the most cautious approach he’s shown yet in the UFC to beat Jake Ellenberger right after Lawler’s exciting finish.

Lawler said he didn’t watch MacDonald’s win over Ellenberger, which was criticized by White after the card and was criticized by man of the more than 7,000 fans at KeyArena in the form of boos. But Lawler did say MacDonald’s got skills.

“He’s a stud,” Lawler said. “He moves around really well. He’s strategic for sure.”

But when Chael Sonnen asked him if MacDonald could take a Lawler head kick, the Iowa resident, who trained at American Top Team for his latest win, was confident in his reply: “I don’t think anyone can.” When asked if he’d like to find out if MacDonald could take the kick, he said, “I wonder if he does.”

Whatever has clicked for Lawler the past two fights, be it the drop from 185 to 170, be it changes in training camps and training methods, be it a sense of urgency as a fighter in his early 30s recognizing a career opportunity in his return to the UFC, the changes have been noticeable.

Lawler has 86 percent of his 21 career wins by knockout. And though going 3-5 in Strikeforce was not exactly setting the world on fire, his three wins all were memorable. In 2010, he was getting brutalized on the feet by Melvin Manhoef, then delivered a right hand that shut that punishment down and limped away with his hand raised. Later that year, he stopped Matt Lindland with a punch 50 seconds into the fight. In 2012, after back-to-back losses to Souza and Tim Kennedy, he stopped Adlan Amagov with a flying knee.

Exciting finishes has never been an issue for Lawler. But putting everything all together and going on a run in the past five years has been.

“Lawler has been a fun fighter since the day he walked into this organization,” White said of Lawler, who debuted in the UFC at UFC 37 in 2002, going 4-3. “The difference between Robbie Lawler now and Robbie Lawler then is obviously he’s older, more grown-up, and more importantly, his head is in the right place. Robbie in the old days was a completely different person. He was just like, ‘Eh, I don’t care.’ He didn’t care about anything. Now he cares. He’s a completely different fighter. When I saw him on Thursday, he was already close to weight. He didn’t have to cut a lot of weight like in the old days when he would fight. He’s just mentally and physically a completely different person. So I’m happy for him. I’m happy to have him back, and he’s always fun.”

Just what that will translate to for the next challenge for Lawler, who spent years training with the Pat Miletich team in Iowa, remains to be seen. But it’s pretty clear he has gotten people’s attention.

For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 8, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

Steven Marrocco and John Morgan contributed to this report from Seattle

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

After win over Pettis in March, UFC 193's Ryan Benoit has eyes on upsets and big fights

  • 18 days ago

You would be forgiven if Ryan Benoit wasn’t on your radar before UFC 185. But after his upset of Sergio Pettis in March, he better be on your radar now. Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC read news >>

The Ultimate Fighter 22, Episode 8 Notes: First KO of the Season

  • 18 days ago

The eighth episode of The Ultimate Fighter 22: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber featured two fights and the first knockout of the season. read news >>

'UFC 193 Embedded,' No. 2: Family time, local fights and Melbourne scenery

  • 19 days ago

It’s a new fight week, which brings the return of “UFC 193 Embedded” and a preview of Saturday’s pay-per-view event. Check out the latest episode inside.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Donald Cerrone Gets First Whereabouts Failure Prior to UFC on Fox 17 Title Bid

  • 20 days ago

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has one strike against him per USADA code. The UFC lightweight title contender picked up his first of three allotted whereabouts failures recently. Cerrone told Tait Fletcher read news >>

Jimmie Rivera hoping for spot on UFC on FOX 18 card in New Jersey after Brazil win

  • 20 days ago

SAO PAULO – After his upset of Pedro Munhoz on Saturday in enemy territory, Jimmie Rivera still isn’t ready to start calling out opponents. Sort of. Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

RFA 32's Leandro Higo: 'TUF: Brazil 4' disappointment won't keep me from UFC

  • 24 days ago

When Leandro Higo fights tonight at RFA 32, he’ll enter the cage with the goal of almost every fighter: earning his way into the UFC.Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, UFC read news >>

Anthony Johnson vs. Ryan Bader Fight Announced for UFC on Fox Newark Card

  • 25 days ago

Anthony Johnson will fight fellow light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader in the headline clash in the first UFC on Fox event of 2016 on Jan. 30. The five-round fight will take place at the Prudential read news >>

Light Heavyweights Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader Headline UFC on Fox 18 on Jan. 30

  • 25 days ago

Top-ranked light heavyweight Anthony Johnson (20-5) faces third ranked Ryan Bader (20-4) in the the UFC on Fox 18 main event in New Jersey on Jan. 30. read news >>

Anthony Johnson gets wish, meets Ryan Bader in UFC on FOX 18 headliner on Jan. 30

  • 25 days ago

Anthony Johnson campaigned hard for a matchup with fellow UFC light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader. His desire has come to fruition in the form of a five-round main event at UFC on FOX 18. Filed un read news >>

TUF Latin America 2 - Episode 11 Preview

  • 27 days ago

It's down to the final two fights after a long season on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America this year, with Team Gastelum's Erick Montano set to face Team Escudero's Vernon Ramos this week, the read news >>