Former UFC welterweight champion ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler returns to the Octagon tonight (July 29) to face Donald Cerrone in a sure-fire ‘Fight of the Year’ contender.
Before throwing down with ‘Cowboy’, though, Lawler took some time out of his preparations to discuss the UFC 214 battle and all it could lead to in the future. Fighters Only contributor Tony Reid was on hand to ask all the right questions.
Q: You face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone this weekend at UFC 214 in a fight many consider a serious ‘Fight of the Year’ contender. How do you see it playing out?
RL: I feel good. Training camp has gone well. My coaches have got me ready. I feel like I am going to go out there and showcase my skills and be ruthless.
Q: Do you envision the fight playing out a certain way or are you going to be fighting on instinct?
RL: My coaches have done a good job putting me in scenarios they think will come up during the fight and we’re making sure I am winning in those scenarios. I am sharp in a lot of areas. I am powerful in a lot of areas. I think I can take advantage in those areas in the fight. The game plan is to go out there and fight and go on instinct but the instincts are things I have drilled and trained. They are sharp and they are sharp in spots we think we will find ourselves in during the fight. It should be a good one.
Q: Are we talking some level of controlled aggression?
RL: If he does something, you do something because you have been drilling it. It’s instinct after a while. Instinct is something you have drilled and you don’t have to think about it – you just do it because you have worked on it for so long.
Q: How important is it for you to be confident in your training going into such a big fight like this?
RL: It’s really important, but it’s just business as usual. It’s something I have done my whole career. Its all about fine tuning and sharpening my skills and tools. There are a lot of aspects I have worked on over the years and it’s all about bringing as many of those pieces to each and every fight as possible. It’s about keeping everything sharp and keeping everything ready to go. You have to work on everything. You can’t leave anything behind. My body feels good. I am focused and I am going to go out there and showcase my skills.
Q: This will be your first fight since losing the UFC welterweight title to Tyron Woodley about a year ago. What are your takeaways from that fight and what has changed for you in the sport and away from the sport?
RL: I am just leaving the fight in the past. It’s easy to go out there and make excuses and want to change a whole bunch of stuff up. I am who I am and I fight the way I fight. It’s all about just focusing on getting better. That’s what I do. My coaches have done a great job of getting me ready. I have just been working. It’s pretty simple.
Q: Does a win over ‘Cowboy’ put you right in line to get a shot to get your title back?
RL: I am still ranked pretty high. I just need to keep winning and keep knocking people out. I need to force the hand. I will earn the title shot. It’s not something I deserve; I will earn it. We will see what happens.
Q: Your former coach Pat Miletich has said this fight is a no-win situation for you. What are your thoughts when you hear that from Pat?
RL: It really doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect my preparation. It doesn’t affect how I am pursuing this fight. I am going out there to try to knock somebody out. All that stuff is for the media and the fans to talk about. I am focused on beating someone up.