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Never say never! Robbie Lawler admits MMA return is possible: ‘I definitely have more left in me’

UFC 290: Volkanovski v Rodriguez Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Robbie Lawler’s mixed martial arts (MMA) retirement fight went as smoothly as any fighter could ever dream of.

The “Ruthless” former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight titleholder, Lawler, called it a career at UFC 290 earlier this month (July 8, 2023). Earning a quick 38-second knockout against Niko Price (watch highlights), Lawler sustained no damage and was treated to a tear-jerking tribute video to celebrate.

Wins don’t get much more perfect than a sub-one-minute knockout, especially for a retirement bout. Lawler, 42, is just shy of 50 total MMA fights in his career with 47 (30-16, 1 no contest) but simply can’t go through the same taxing training regimens that he’s accustomed to.

“I definitely have more left in me, it’s just one of those things where you figure it out. I just can’t do as much as I used to is the thing,” Lawler told The MMA Hour. “I can’t train the way I want to train. I’m like the guy who likes to do extra, and now it’s like, hey, just relax, you know how to fight so let’s just get you to the fight. So that’s the hard part for me because I like to work, I like to work out, I like to lift, I like to do all these things and I have this checklist and the checklist is too much.”

Lawler lived up to his nickname every time he stepped into a cage. While his stance has been strong regarding an eventual return immediately before and after his Price win, never say never in MMA.

“I’m a fighter, I’m never going to say [never],” Lawler said of a comeback. “But I’m in a good place. You never know, but I feel good. I feel good and I’m not training. I’m lifting, I’m running, I’m keeping myself in shape, but I don’t see it happening.

“I’m not going to say no, because you never no,” he continued. “I feel great and I know how to train at my old age to be ready for one day, to be sharp for one day. And it’s always fun. That’s actually what I enjoy about sports in general, is how can you be as good as you can for a certain day or a certain bout. I love tweaking things and being a scientist of my own freaking body and trying, ‘Okay, you need to have this and you need to do this,’ and figuring out a way to get the job done. ... I’m always going to be doing those things, so nothing is really changing in that aspect, it’s just I’m just doing it for the fun of it.”

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