Robbie Lawler hasn’t fought in the UFC in nearly a decade. He debuted in the organization at UFC 37 in May 2002 at the age of 20. He had a seven-fight stint inside the Octagon, going 4-3. His last fight under the UFC banner was at UFC 50 in 2004 where he lost to former champion Evan Tanner by submission.
Lawler returns at UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche on Saturday against Josh Koscheck.
“It’s exciting. I didn’t realize it was that long. It makes me feel old. I’m excited to fight. I’ve been training hard and this is a great opportunity and I’m happy to be here,” Lawler said during the UFC 157 pre-fight press conference.
Now 30, Lawler feels he’s more prepared than he was when he first arrived in the UFC.
“This is the big show. I think the first time I was here, I didn’t really want to do everything. I just wanted to fight, just come in here and fight. I didn’t want to do the PR. I didn’t want to talk to the media. Now I think I’m ready for that. I’m excited to be here,” he said.
After leaving the UFC, Lawler fought in several promotions: ICON Sport, International Fight League, Pride, EliteXC, and Strikeforce. Most of that time, he competed as a middleweight. UFC 157 isn’t only his return to the UFC, it’s also his return to the welterweight division.
“Guys were cutting a lot of weight, and I was kind of walking around at the weight I was fighting at, which I like to do. I like to fight and compete and I think for me to fight at a higher level, I think I need to cut a little bit of weight,” Lawler said about returning to the 170-pound weight class.
“I knew I was going to come back to the UFC and I wanted to cut down to 170 when I did it.”
Lawler expects a war with Koscheck.
“Josh has got a lot of fights in the UFC. He’s a big, strong wrestler with strong stand-up and it’s going to be a war. I’m ready to go.”