Robbie Lawler is a tenured fighter in promotions all across the country, including the UFC where he once reigned as the undisputed champion. He lived up to his moniker ‘Ruthless’ and epitomized the promotion in his heyday. Any card he featured on had fans glued to their screens as they knew of this incredible talent’s iron jaw and his inability to know when the fight was lost.
Add that to his ability to make a comeback and UFC audiences had the perfect warrior before them. However, with time his strength has waned. Lawler has secured just two of his twenty career T/KO wins in the last six years.
In retrospect, his last successful title defenses against Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit will go down as the last time we saw the real ‘Ruthless’ one.
Read: THROWBACK: When Rory Macdonald and Robbie Lawler Put Up One of the Bloodiest UFC Fights
Lawler returned against fellow welterweight veteran Neil Magny at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Rakic. Here he had a chance at redemption but proved ineffective against the hungry contender who fought to break into the top 10.
Magny out-landed Lawler by 36 strikes and led the takedowns 4-0. Despite a bloodied face, ‘Ruthless’ fought gamely. However, he is on a four-fight losing run and in serious danger of dropping out of the UFC welterweight rankings altogether.
Given this, it’s obvious that the question of what is next for the former champion will be at the forefront of discussions.
Come Monday, ‘Ruthless’ probably will drop from his 13th spot in the rankings. The drop may not be severe and he could find himself at 14th and a single spot above Anthony Pettis.
He remains a credible name because of the accolades he stacked in his prime. The former UFC and EliteXC champion could provide a tough fight to hungry contenders looking to have a number by their name.
This is a win-win for both parties. Lawler could see this as an opportunity to recapture his magic among relative newcomers in the UFC. By doing so, he could impress the right people and jump a few spots in the rankings and earn a top-quality farewell match rather than the UFC handing it to him.
He has lost to some of the biggest and most experienced names in recent times. These include Rafael dos Anjos, Ben Askren, and Colby Covington. The fight against ‘Funky’ had a botched finish, but the record books will always say that Lawler lost the fight.
Barring that botched finish, Lawler went the distance in each of these fights. This shows that his iron jaw is still there. Hence, he can provide a stern test and give upcoming fighters a taste of what to expect as they aim to take their place amongst the elite.
‘Ruthless’ challenging for the belt anytime soon seems farfetched. Also, the thought of retiring would be unimaginable because UFC fighters compete well into their forties. Hence, expect to see Lawler back soon as, at his age, he cannot afford to have a year-long layoff again.
Amongst ranked contenders, viable options for ‘Ruthless’ include current 12th ranked Nate Diaz. This will be a thriller should the UFC book it.
The Stockton fighter hasn’t competed in over ten months, and a fight against Lawler will offer him a chance to emulate his brother Nick. Nick stunned the young Robbie Lawler with a mesmerizing second-round KO at UFC 47: It’s On.
Read: The Real BMF Fight? Watch When Nick Diaz Went Toe to Toe With the Ruthless One
Another option is Anthony Pettis, who claimed a win in his last outing at UFC 249. Should the rankings come out as per expectations, this fight between the last-ranked contenders at 170 lbs could garner the same attention as a title fight.
These fights are exciting to speculate about, but they aren’t at the top of the card. Very few UFC stars retire as champions or championship challengers. Given his career trajectory and age, it seems unlikely that Robbie Lawler will be one of them. Who do you see Robbie Lawler fighting next?
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