Rafael dos Anjos put on a fantastic performance against Robbie Lawler at UFC on FOX 26. Chopping away the former welterweight champion’s legs with kicks, doing strong work in the clinch with knees, elbows, and short punches, all before injuring Lawler’s knee with a leg buckling takedown. From there, RDA put the grind on his obviously hobbled opponent for a lopsided win.
By the time the bout was over, according to Fight Metric, the Brazilian former lightweight champion had out-landed Lawler 172 to 86 in significant strikes. With a couple takedowns just for good measure. The performance just may have been enough to earn RDA the next shot at the welterweight champion.
“Was it a good performance?” Woodley told MMA Fighting on Friday. “If I had Robbie Lawler against the Octagon like that, would he have been alive or would he have been knocked the f*ck out? He’d have been knocked out.”
“I just think when you come to this welterweight level, you’re dealing with a different type of power,” Woodley said. “I feel like strategically, those guys look good, because the idea of a good fight to fans is a teeter-tottering, back-and-forth war. But when you got a guy that’s known for his jiu-jitsu, leg kicks and takedowns and he doesn’t use those when those are there, it’s not that great of a performance.
“When you got Robbie against the Octagon and he’s throwing punches in bunches and he’s swinging, hitting elbows and hitting with MMA gloves, yeah he threw 100 punches, but how many actually landed? How many did significant damage? If I get Robbie against the cage, it’s gonna take a couple and he’s gonna go down. Put Stephen [Thompson] against the cage, it took a couple and he went down. Nate Marquardt. Anybody, in win or defeat, if I see the chin and I hit it, they go down.”
And while it may sound like posturing, to Woodley’s credit (in this case) he has the data to back it up. ‘The Chosen One’ took on ‘Ruthless’ Bob back in 2016, in the 3rd defense of then-champion Lawler’s belt. Woodley needed just 2 minutes to get Lawler backing into the fence before dropping him with a big right hand for the knockout.
His title defenses against Thompson and Maia may be nothing to write home about, but given Woodley’s own experience, RDA’s Lawler win just isn’t peaking his interests. “I wasn’t really impressed,” Woodley said, summarizing his thoughts. And until he is, it doesn’t sound like the champ is all that interested in taking on a new title challenger. “Until someone can show me they’re doing the same thing or truly deserve the No. 1 contender, I’m good.”