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

Chris Camozzi returns to the UFC, fights 'Jacare' Souza at UFC on FOX 15

  • 24 days ago
  • 3 views

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza will fight at UFC on FOX 15 after all. The UFC announced Saturday that veteran middleweight Chris Camozzi has re-signed with the promotion and will rematch Souza on just seven read news >>

UFC on FOX 15 'Prelims' preview and predictions, Pt 1

  • 21 days ago
  • 10 views

More fights are coming to Fight Pass and FOX this weekend (Sat., April 18, 2015) when UFC on FOX 15: “Machida vs. Rockhold” kicks off from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. MMAmania.com's Patr read news >>

UFC on FOX 15 'Prelims' preview and predictions, Pt 2

  • 20 days ago
  • 8 views

More fights are coming to Fight Pass and FOX this weekend (Sat., April 18, 2015) when UFC on FOX 15: “Machida vs. Rockhold” kicks off from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. MMAmania.com's Patr read news >>

Dana White Separates Paige VanZant and Felice Herrig (UFC on FOX 15 Staredown)

  • 19 days ago
  • 20 views

While Felice Herrig scowled and Paige VanZant smiled, UFC president Dana White stepped in between them to keep the two fighters apart at media day on Thursday. read news >>

UFC on FOX 15 weigh-in video

  • 18 days ago
  • 9 views

At the UFC on FOX 15 weigh-ins, all 22 fighters taking part in Saturday night's UFC on FOX 15 fights will step on the scale Friday evening, and we'll have the live video here at MMAFighting.com.In th read news >>

The Speed Bag: Aren't we forgetting something about UFC on FOX 15?

  • 18 days ago
  • 0 views

The UFC on FOX 15 card has plenty of compelling fights and storylines. But why are fans forgetting about the featherweight clash between Cub Swanson and Max Holloway.Filed under: Featured, Featured V read news >>

UFC on FOX 15's Cub Swanson: The fan backlash hurt more than the Frankie Edgar loss

  • 17 days ago
  • 5 views

Cub Swanson had won six straight fights and was knocking on the door of a potential title fight before an untimely loss to Frankie Edgar in November. The fan backlash, though, hurt more than the defe read news >>

UFC on Fox 15 prelims results: OSP KO's Cummins, Villante and Sterling win

  • 17 days ago
  • 6 views

The first three televised UFC on Fox 15 fights all ended before the final horn. The finishes keep rolling in at UFC on Fox 15. The first three fights of the televised preliminary card were all finish read news >>

Luke Rockhold after UFC on FOX 15 win: This is my show

  • 16 days ago
  • 2 views

NEWARK, N.J. – Although UFC President Dana White characteristically declined to name the next challenger to the middleweight title, former Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold said there’s no better choic read news >>