If you would have polled fight fans on the potential upside of Robbie Lawler prior to his UFC 157 fight against Josh Koscheck odds are good that you would have had very few responses along the lines of potential UFC welterweight champion. If you asked the same question today, you'd probably receive a much different response.
Lawler (22-10-0-1) began his second stint with the UFC with a three fight winning streak. That run earned him a shot at the welterweight title left vacant when long-time champion Georges St-Pierre decided to step away from the sport for an undefined amount of time following his split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.
Lawler came up short in his bid for the belt, losing a unanimous decision at UFC 171 to Hendricks, but he didn't dwell on that defeat for too long. Less than two weeks after the March 15 loss to Hendricks, the No. 1 ranked welterweight signed on to fight No. 5 ranked Jake Ellenberger (29-7) at UFC 173 after Ellenberger lost his scheduled UFC 172 fight when opponent Tarec Saffiedine was forced to withdraw from that bout due to injury.
Lawler, speaking to MMAJunkie Radio, said of taking the May 24 fight against Ellenberger, "It was just a good opportunity to get back in there and work on my skills. I was ready to go - right place, right time."
The 32-year old Lawler said that he was no worse for wear after absorbing 186 strikes from the heavy handed Hendricks during their contest, revealing that he headed to the gym the Monday after the 25 minute fight.
Being that close to the title, it wouldn't be a shock to discover that Lawler has a burning desire to get another shot at strapping UFC gold around his waist. Not so, said Lawler, "I don't really dabble into that, I'm just worried about getting better as a fighter. I just let Joe, Dana and Lorenzo take care of the business and the matchmaking and I'll just show up and fight my best."
Discussing the upcoming fight with Ellenberger, Lawler commented, "It's a huge fight. He's a really good wrestler with knockout power and I have to be sharp, I have to be at my best to win this fight, and that's what I plan to be."