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Is There a Route Back to the UFC’s Welterweight Title for Bettendorf Native, Robbie Lawler?


This news story was published on February 19, 2021.
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During the mid-2000s, there can be no doubts that the Iowa native, Robbie Lawler, was one of the scariest MMA fighters on the planet. Aptly nicknamed Ruthless, the 38-year-old defeated Johny Hendricks at UFC 181 in their highly-anticipated rematch. After going the distance with Bigg Rigg, Lawler defended the welterweight title against Rory McDonald and Carlos Condit. However, at UFC 201, the southpaw fighter suffered a devastating first-round loss to Tyron Woodley, and he’s struggled to bounce back ever since. So, can Ruthless get himself back into the title picture? 

Ruthless by Name and Nature 

Over the years, professional MMA has delivered a plethora of must-watch bouts. However, few are more famous than Lawler’s co-main event rematch with McDonald at UFC 189. At the end of the fourth round, the pair met in the middle of the cage and engaged in one of the sport’s most iconic stare downs. After that, Ruthless finished the fight early into the fifth. As per the fight’s stats, Lawler landed 97 percent of his punches to the head and connected with 44 percent of his significant strikes. However, the 38-year-old also took a fair amount of shots, with McDonald landing 70 to the head. 

While Lawler is something of a volume striker, he’s meticulous about which shots he throws and when he throws them, and that has got him into five-round wars. Following his triumph over the Red King, Ruthless went the distance with Carlos Condit, who threw 176 significant strikes to Lawler’s 92. Although stylistically brave, that’s what made the former welterweight champion a fan favorite. The Iowa native always backed his power, which meant he didn’t mind taking a few shots to land one in return. 

Retirement Isn’t On the Cards 

Since losing his 170-pound belt to Woodley, Lawler has won just one of his next five bouts. Moreover, Ruthless is currently on a four-fight losing streak. Although, that doesn’t necessarily paint the whole picture. In the last four, only Ben Askren has stopped him. However, the 38-year claims that he wasn’t out and Herb Dean, the referee, “made a mistake”. Regarding the other three bouts, each has been unanimous decision defeats to Rafael dos Anjos, Colby Covington, and, most recently, Neil Magny. 

Before the Magny fight, and although the Bettendorf native hasn’t won since July 2017, Lawler stated that he’s not thinking about retirement. However, he faces a difficult task if he is to get back into the title picture. At the time of writing, he’s the 15th-ranked 170-pound fighter in the organization, and he doesn’t have a fight booked for the near future. 

Interestingly, he isn’t the only former champion looking to get back to the belt, with Dominic Cruz and Woodley also seeking to fight their way to the top. At UFC 259, the Dominator meets Casey Kenney, and the five-foot-eight former bantamweight belt-holder is the favorite to triumph over his opponent at Winner.net’s best sports betting sites. Across the comparison site’s listed sportsbooks, many of them cater to the demands of UFC fans. The website, which allows users to filter their search results, lists 22BET as the leading operator for martial arts and MMA. Furthermore, bet365, William Hill, and Unibet also offer wide-ranging opportunities regarding future bouts. 

Where Does Lawler Go from Here? 

Askren and Woodley aside, Ruthless was last stopped in 2011 by Jacare Souza. Typically, the Iowa native doesn’t get finished by his opponents, which is a testament to his chin strength. As such, he undoubtedly has the ability and durability to work his way back to the belt. Whether that’s realistically achievable, however, remains to be seen.

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