Returning to the UFC in February of 2013 after having been absent from the promotion for nine years, welterweight Robbie Lawler has amassed a record of 4 – 1 in the brand, seized the division’s number one ranking, and fought for the class’s championship title.
In his UFC 171 title fight with (now) champion Johny Hendricks, “Ruthless” put on a great performance and nearly won the bout. However, “Bigg Rigg” was able to pull out the win and take home a unanimous decision victory in very close fight.
Indeed, Lawler’s March 15 bout with Hendricks was so close that many fans have wondered whether or not Lawler could cull the victory if given another kick at the can.
As it stands, “Ruthless” may be getting the opportunity.
At last night’s UFC 173 post-fight media scrum, Dana White was asked whether or not Lawler’s performance on the evening – a third round TKO victory over Jake Ellenberger – had put pressure on Rory MacDonald and Tryon Woodley, regarding their upcoming UFC 174 title challengers’ match.
In response, the promotion’s president stated “yeah; definitely.”
As such, White appears to be saying that the winner of MacDonald vs. Woodley is not guaranteed a title shot, and that in order to garner the opportunity the winner of the match will have to impress White.
As a follow up, White was asked which fight would be next in line for Hendricks and his first title defense. By way of an answer, White seems to leaning towards re-matching Hendricks with the very man the champ beat to win the title, Robbie Lawler.
“It’s tough to deny Robbie Lawler the right to get that fight again. We’ll see what happens though.”
So, there fans have it. Short of a dominant win by either MacDonald or Woodley at UFC 174, it would appear that Lawler might be stepping back into the ring in a title fight with Johny Hendricks.
However, White also left another fight possibility on the table for Lawler and that would be with the No. 6 ranked Matt Brown. When asked about a pairing between the two, White stated that “anything is possible.” However, White tempered his answer by stating that “Ruthless” had just finished two fight camps, hadn’t seen his kids in fourteen weeks, and was in the process of moving his family to Florida. As such, White believes that Lawler may be looking for a break and subsequently unavailable for Matt Brown.