Robbie Lawler sits on the stool, lip split up to his cheek, battered, and bloody. The corner men work feverishly to get him ready for the last round. Its been four hard fought round, with both men taking a beating, and yet five minutes still remain. One final round to decide the victor, the world champion.
One of the officials walks to his corner and asks him “how do you feel?” and despite all the pain and exhaustion, he utters four words.
“I Feel Fucking Great.”
Now this may sound like a scene from a movie, but this was the sixty seconds between rounds 4 and 5 of the co-main event of UFC 189. The man in question was Robbie Lawler, a modern gladiator. Not only did he make it off the stool for the fifth round, he landed yet another jab to the nose of his foe, Rory Macdonald. This accumulation of punishment caused him to crumpled him to the ground in pain.
Lawler has been around the Octagon since he was 20, making his first walk at UFC 37, winning his first bout by decision. Lawler has never been one for talking trash; he even fell asleep during a press conference in Strkeforce.
During interviews, Robbie doesn’t get into the war of words, electing to keep answers short and simple. These such answers hide the violent nature he brings to the cage. On a rare occasion when he does open the door to his in-cage persona, do we get a glimpse of the danger that awaits any man willing to walk into that cage.
One such occurrence was during an interview, Lawler was asked about a fight with Irish superstar, Conor McGregor.
His answer was calculated, scary, and matter of fact. When asked about the fight Robbie said he was lucky it wasn’t him in there, because if he hurt Conor he wasn’t taking his neck. When asked what he would take it was a simple answer:
These types of answers are unusual for Lawler, but watch the man’s fights and its quickly realized that he believes what he says. Robbie doesn’t come off as the destroyer he is, quiet during media and never getting worked up during a stare down. However, once that cage closes all the anger, the rage that seems to be hiding just below the surface comes out.
During his UFC 173 bout with Jake Ellenberger, a vaunted wrestler, Lawler can be seen smiling as Jake tries desperately to take him down. It was as though Lawer knew what was going to happen, he knew the impending doom that awaited Ellenberger. Just a short time later, Lawler landed a punch which backs Jake up, rocking him. Robbie followed him, landing a knee, and it was all over.
In battle, is where Lawler shows who he is, a savage who hunts the finish. Stalking his prey around the Octagon, like a lion awaiting the neck of a fresh kill. One punch lands and its like a shark with blood. Robbie is quick to follow up and it doesn’t take him long to separate a man from their senses.
The emotion that is withheld outside the cage is unleashed inside. Upon a victory, the primal scream can be heard from Lawler. The stares he gave Rory Macdonald, which is iconic, and Johnny Hendricks. That chilling stare serving as a warning to the other, I’m still here and I’m coming for your head.
Just as quick as the switch goes on, it goes off again. As soon as the contest is over, Robbie goes back to the unassuming man he is. After the questionable stoppage in the Ben Askren fight, Lawler jumped to his feet and protested. However, he was quick to calm down. As though catching himself, and he made sure to tell the official he was a hell of a ref.
The polar opposite of his in-cage persona.
Lawler’s opponent, Colby Covington, has been unleashing his special barrage of trash talk in hopes of throwing Lawler off his game. Despite this, as always, Robbie could not care less, electing to ignore the banter and focus on himself and his performance. Yet, don’t let the docile nature of Lawler fool you. Come fight night, he will be looking for blood, looking for the next soul. He is a modern day gladiator, he is the ruthless one.
He is Robbie Lawler.