Former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler is no longer concerned with championship belts. Instead, the MMA legend is focused on rediscovering his joy for fighting.
Lawler, who takes on Neil Magny in the co-main event at UFC Vegas 8 tomorrow night (Sat., Aug. 29, 2020) live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, has lost his last three trips to the Octagon. Those defeats did come at the hands of top talent like Colby Covington, Rafael dos Anjos, and Ben Askren, but the string of bad success still leaves “Ruthless” searching for some stability late into his fighting career.
Luckily, Lawler still possesses the skill set to fight alongside some of the best fighters at 170 pounds. And with UFC title hopes taking a backseat for now the 38-year-old veteran can sit back and enjoy his return to the Octagon.
“I’m not really thinking about those things right now,” Lawler told Bleacher Report ahead of Saturday’s fight. “It’s just about going out there and getting this one done and seeing where it takes me.”
Lawler, who is replacing an injured Geoff Neal on just three weeks notice, hasn’t stepped inside of the cage since his loss to Covington back at UFC on ESPN 5 over one year ago. It’s one of the longer layoffs in recent memory for “Ruthless” and one that has him itching to get back in action and prove he can still compete, whether that’s in the cage or at the gym training.
“I just really enjoy competing and hanging out with all my buddies at the gym and getting ready,” he explained. “I enjoy working on aspects of myself, fine-tuning stuff, and just tweaking skills and techniques. Just trying to constantly evolve.”
With a three-fight losing streak following him into his return fight many are wondering how much time Lawler has left before he starts thinking about retirement. After all, “Ruthless” has been competing against the best fighters in the world for the past 10 years. At some point his storied career is going to come to an end, but don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.
“I don’t really think about [retirement] at all,” said Lawler. “I’m just training and trying to get better, trying to get my training partners better, and just keep giving back to the sport that way. These guys are keeping me young and pushing me.”
Despite the long layoff, ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and short-notice booking, Lawler is ready to prove himself again this weekend opposite Magny. He may not have had the full training camp that he’s used to, but the pre-fight preparation was enough to get Lawler ready for battle.
“I had really good training partners to get me ready,” he added. “I had [Bellator welterweight] Jason Jackson trying to beat me up, pushing me. I had [Bellator welterweight] Logan Storley helping me. So my body feels good. I’m ready to go.”
“Everyone knows if I turn it up, I can do great things and put on a show, so obviously he’s going to have to get ready for a guy who’s going in there to take him out and get a knockout,” he concluded. “I’m just trying to bring joy back into fighting and go out there and have some fun.”
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