Robbie Lawler snapped a four-fight losing skid at UFC 266, surviving a non-stop barrage of punches from Nick Diaz across two rounds to put the tough Stockton fighter down on the canvas in round three with a hard body shot and a big right hand. It was a wild fight that lived up to the hype, even though the ending — Diaz refused to get back to his feet, forcing the ref to wave off the fight — was an odd one (watch the finish here).
When asked about the finish to the fight during the UFC 266 post-fight press conference (watch it here), Lawler chalked it up to damage done across the entire bout.
“I felt like it was an accumulation,” he said. “I think I caught him with a little check hook and then caught him with a left after that. And then when he went down I hit him with an uppercut. But, I think he wanted me to follow him down and I was like, ‘Let’s continue with the fun stuff.’”
Lawler also dismissed talk of Diaz “quitting.”
“No, he’s a warrior,” he said. “That was a rough fight. He was standing right there in the pocket. I throw hard shots and he was taking them. It was a lot of damage. When you go back and watch the fight, it was a war, a three round war and I hit pretty hard. It just wasn’t his night.”
When asked to compare the Nick he faced in the cage on Saturday to the one he faced in 2004, Lawler shrugged.
“I don’t really know because it was a feeling thing,” he said. “He was really long, and a lof of the stuff he does, he never really had fast hands, he used his body to kind of cover that distance so he leans a little bit more. So it’s not really fast hands, it’s timing and that kind of stuff. And he slaps and does that kind of stuff, he was never really a fast puncher so I wasn’t too worried. And I was trying to smother him and try to not take too much damage out there.”
After the fight, the two shared words of respect, and “Ruthless” shared with the press what he said to Diaz.
“I just said thank you for bringing the best out of me,” Lawler revealed. “I have a lot of respect for you and hopefully your life is going to get together and, like, good things are going to happen to you. And he’s a hell of a guy, a nice guy, a frickin’ warrior in this sport and in sports in general. You want the best for your opponents and the athletes you see around you so ... I like him.”
As for what’s next?
“I’m sure UFC will come up with something and talk to [manager] Dave Martin and we’ll figure it out. Sandford MMA is going to get me ready for my fight and I’ll be ready to fight whoever.”
As for his opponent ...
“That’s up to Nick, that’s up to UFC,” he said. “You never know what people are going through. I’m on the outside looking in and I’m not trying to solve anyone’s problems. I think that’s for you guys to figure out and label. Let people do their thing, I’m going to do my thing and hide out at home with my kids and mind my own business.”
For complete UFC 266 results and coverage click here.