Robbie Lawler was inducted into the 2023 class of the UFC Hall of Fame, and used his acceptance speech to pay tribute to the plethora of people who helped him achieve great things inside the Octagon.
Lawler was inducted into the Fight Wing for his second fight with Rory MacDonald at UFC 189 in 2015, where Lawler stopped the Canadian to retain the UFC welterweight title in a fight many say is the greatest championship bout in UFC history.
Accepting the award on stage at T-Mobile Arena, Lawler was typically generous with his praise as he used his time on the microphone not to reminisce or retell the story of his achievement, but to instead lift up the names of the coaching staff that helped put him at arguably the highest level of his fighting career that night.
“Thanks everybody for coming. It’s been a long ride,” he began.
“I’m just gonna thank everyone who was a part of this fight. It was a battle, obviously. I’m thanking Lorenzo, Dana, Joe Silva, everyone at the UFC who set this fight up and put this together on a big card.
“Rory and this camp. It takes two to tango and put on a fight like that. Rory was a finely-tuned athlete at the time, really good camp coming from training under GSP. And he pushed me to the limits that fight. I’m glad that he did, because I got to show the fans who I am deep down and ready to go to war, and so is he. Thank you, Rory.”
Lawler continued, thanking referee John McCarthy and cutman Jacob “Stitch” Duran for playing their roles on an unforgettable night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Big John. Probably the best ref in the business, did a great job, stayed out of the way (and) just let us battle. You did a great job. ‘Stitch’ Duran for trying to keep my face together and stop the blood. I mean, you need those guys! You need those cutmen!”
Lawler than moved on to his coaching staff as he revealed the names of the people who helped him to one of the biggest, most famous wins of his career.
“My longtime boxing coach Matt Pena. Good buddy of mine, always keeping my footwork good and keeping everything sharp,” he said.
“This award is about the people who got me there. Being on this stage is about the people who got me there. Without these guys, I wouldn’t be who I was.
“Katel Kubis, (my) kickboxing coach, really freaking got after it (and) sharpened my skills. I was new to him and he didn’t try to change me. He just added to me. Gave me a lot of craft, a lot of tricks for this fight.
“I’m gonna go with Mo Lawal next. Good energy. I actually hit him with a couple of good knees in training camp. He always brought great energy to the camp. He ended up cornering me. I needed him at the time as far as just keeping me happy, because I was in a place where it was like I was pissed at everything and I was just like, not happy. Just having him around just energized me.
“(My) Strength and conditioning coach Brian Harris. Always kept me fresh, always kept my body sharp and I peaked at the right time for that fight – you saw it. A five-round war, got rocked, kicked in the head, and was able to recover. That comes down to good training and good coaching, so thank you to him.
“Kami Barzini, kind of the gameplan guy. He finely tuned, put my training camp together. Who I was sparring, strategy, those tyopes of things. The little details (were) huge. His insight was amazing.
“Wayne Hoganson, my buddy since seventh grade. You guys see me, you guys are probably like, ‘Who is this guy?’ but he’s been with me and been a coach since I was in seventh grade. Always put up with me (in) fight week. I always mess with people and I definitely messed with him. Thank you for always being there.
“Taylor Krahl is a training partner of mine. He played Rory to a tee. Teep kicks, long jab, same size. I used him for three fights in the UFC – Rory twice and Condit the second time. Without him, I wouldn’t have done so well. It’s all about geting to your slots and having good training partners.
“Dan Lambert, a huge part of my career. Very instrumental on bringing energy to my career, rejuvenating it when I came to (American) Top Team, and I want to thank him for putting this team around me and just energizing my career.”
Then, to wrap up his acceptance speech, Lawler paid tribute to the fans, who have made him one of their favorites during the course of his 22-year career.
“Lastly, I want to thank the fans. Without the fans, there is no UFC (and) I’m not up here.,” he said.
“The fans are where it’s at. That night (at UFC 189) I was fighting for something. That’s why I was able to last for so long. I was actually fighting for respect. That’s why I was pissed off. I was fighting for respect, and I finally realized that I frickin’ earned it, and I want to thank the fans and the UFC and everyone for this. It’s awesome. Thank you!”