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Robbie Lawler: ‘I need to push forward and become a better fighter’

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UFC welterweight competitor Robbie Lawler discusses his upcoming feature fight with Jake Ellenberger at UFC 173.

"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler promises a new and improved version of himself come UFC 173.

The former UFC welterweight title challenger is coming off a ‘Fight of the Year' candidate title fight against champion Johny Hendricks, where the contest was more competitive than the judges scorecards would indicate.

Considering that title fight took place at UFC 171, many fans were surprised when Lawler was slotted to face Jake Ellenberger at UFC 173 in Las Vegas. Lawler reveals that he had informed the promotion that he was ready to fight again and was glad that he got the call to face the "Juggernaut."

"He is a hell of a fighter," Lawler told MMAFighting.com. "He is well rounded and knocks people out. He always comes in shape and is one of the best fighters in the UFC. I would say his striking is higher level [than Johny's]. He is sharp with his hands. He moves his feet really well."

When asked whether he would "deserve" a title shot with a victory over Ellenberger, Lawler preferred to use the term "earned," as his intention is to leave no room for doubt that he is one of the best fighters in the world.

"I don't really worry about 'deserve.' I'm going to worry about earning. That means earning a [title] shot. Let everyone know that I'm one of the best in the world if not the best in the world.

"I need to push forward and become a better fighter. I'm preparing to be the best Robbie Lawler on May 24th."

UFC 173 takes place May 24 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.