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Robbie Lawler: ‘How much time do I want to put into the sport?’

“Ruthless” will always be involved in MMA, but the former UFC champion is making more time for family.

Robbie Lawler does not think he will ever truly retire from mixed martial arts (MMA), but the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight kingpin is looking to spend more time with his family.

Lawler, 39, fights Nick Diaz on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card of UFC 266: “Volkanovski vs. Ortega,” which will take place this weekend (Sat., Sept. 25, 2021) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, streaming online via ESPN+. “Ruthless” has engaged in all-time classic wars with fighters like Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. Some people point to those fights as moments that permanently took pieces from the combatants involved. Lawler refutes that analysis and says he is simply in a different stage of life.

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TWO TITLES UP FOR GRABS! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sat., Nov. 11, 2023, with a re-worked pay-per-view (PPV) main card. In the ESPN+-streamed main event, former 205-pound roost-ruler, Jiri Prochazka, will lock horns with ex-Middleweight kingpin, Alex Pereira, for the promotion’s vacant Light Heavyweight title. In UFC 295’s co-main event, top-ranked Heavyweight contenders, Sergei Pavlovich (No. 2) and Tom Aspinall (No. 4), will collide for the interim strap after division champion, Jon Jones, was injured with a torn pectoral muscle and forced to withdraw (video).

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“They were big fights. I was excited at the time for those fights. Big opportunities against some big names. But I felt good after those fights. I still feel good. It’s just how much time do I want to put into the sport when I have to spend time with my family?” Lawler tells “I have a son that’s growing up and I want to spend time with them, so it’s finding that balance. It’s something I didn’t really have throughout my whole career is balancing family. It was pretty much me, me, me, train, train, train. Just trying to figure out that balance and Nick Diaz is one of those big names that kind of lets me go out there and focus a little bit more on fighting.

“It’s been a slow progression,” Lawler continued. “Going by feeling and figuring out. It’s still a work in progress like any martial art. It’s just like any person in life. Just getting better and fine-tuning my time management skills. It’s just working on those things. I never had to before and now I’m focusing on myself,” he continues. “I find a lot of joy. Even when I’m not competing anymore I’ll still be working out. So I don’t think I’m ever going to really retire because I’m always trying to get better, strive and create more balance. Obviously, this is a huge part of my life and I’ll be giving back to the sport that gave so much to me. I’m never putting this thing down.”

When Lawler isn’t exchanging heavy blows with his fellow fighters, he and his family are watching employees of a certain fictional paper company, or super-powered heroes and villains, duke it out.

“When I get home, I’m eating and seeing what my son and wife want to do. Just hanging out with them, spending a lot of family time,” he shares. “My son and I watch The Office, different movies. Marvel movies.”

While a fight with former teammate Jorge Masvidal doesn’t appeal to him, a rematch with fellow fan-favorite Nick Diaz sure does.

“There’s definitely respect from my side toward Nick,” Lawler says. “He’s done a lot, he’s accomplished a lot. He always comes to fight, always brings it. Looking for finishes and looking to beat somebody’s ass.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 266 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPNEWS/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 266: “Volkanovski vs. Ortega” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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