Out of action since he won the belt with a thrilling five round decision over Johny Hendricks in the main event of last December’s UFC 181, welterweight champion Robbie Lawler is set to return to the cage when he faces No. 1 contender Rory MacDonald in the co-main event of July 11’s UFC 189 from Las Vegas.
It’s a match-up that he’s prepared for before, as he edged MacDonald by split decision at November 2013’s UFC 167 to earn his first title shot at Hendricks, a bout that “Bigg Rigg” ultimately won by decision.
But now “Ruthless” is the champ, and he’s arguably one of the fighters with the most momentum in all of mixed martial arts (MMA). That’s not going to cause him to make any drastic changes to his training camp for MacDonald, however. He spoke up on last night’s Inside MMA to describe his methodical preparation for the pivotal fight:
“Not much has changed, just grinding away, business as usual. It’s just one of those things where I’m trying to continue to get better, continue to add little things to my game, little tricks to my trade to be more efficient out there and just working as hard as I can. My coaches at American Top Team are doing a great job getting me ready for these training camps and nothing’s changed.”
Lawler praised MacDonald’s skills, noting that he already has what it takes to be champion despite not having reached that mountaintop just yet. Because of the “Red King’s” all-around skills, Lawler said he’s focused on doing what he does best and making it a dogfight in two weeks’ time:
“MacDonald’s a heck of a competitor. He’s coming from one of the best camps in the world up in Montreal. He’s trained with Georges St. Pierre for many years, so he knows what it takes to be a champion. He doesn’t really have too many weaknesses. He’s well rounded like everyone up there at TriStar Gym. I need to be well prepared and go out there and force him to fight. I think if I force him to fight and get in his face, I always have a good chance.”
“Ruthless” also isn’t resting on the laurels of his first close victory over MacDonald, noting that he’s viewing the second fight as the first time he’s faced the longtime heir-apparent to “GSP’s” former throne. Overall. Lawler is simply confident in his skills and is ready to go get another big win on July 11:
“I don’t know; I just look at it as it’s the first time facing him. My coaches do a great job of breaking my opponents down, and I just go out there and I know what I’m capable of. I know the power I have in my hands and my feet and my knees, so I know I can go out there and finish somebody, so I concentrate on myself, and I’m very excited for the opportunity to get another victory.”