Robbie Lawler offered to fight at UFC 173 when main event was moved
MAY 02, 2014 9:44a ET
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. -- Robbie Lawler, UFC 173 savior?
OK, maybe not quite. But when Lawler heard the Chris Weidman-Lyoto Machida middleweight title fight was pushed back, he reached out to UFC officials to offer his services.
"I just said, 'Hey, I'm available and if you need me I'll fight,'" Lawler told FOX Sports on Thursday at American Top Team.
They took him up on his proposal and Lawler will now fight Jake Ellenberger on May 24 in Las Vegas. Lawler is coming off a loss to Johny Hendricks in a welterweight title fight March 22 at UFC 171, so it's a pretty quick turnaround.
Some people thought Lawler beat Hendricks and no matter who you think won, it was a very close decision. But that didn't play into Lawler's choice to come back so quickly. He was just trying to help out the UFC.
“I just said, 'Hey, I'm available and if you need me I'll fight.'”
"I move forward and I'm just battling back," Lawler said. "I can't dwell on that. I did some good things in that fight and I need to build off my performance."
A win against Ellenberger puts him back into the welterweight title conversation. The winner of a fight between Tyron Woodley and Rory MacDonald at UFC 174 on June 14 will likely get the next shot against Hendricks sometime in the fall. But Lawler is still on the short list of possible contenders.
"I'm not really too worried about that," Lawler said. "I'm right there. If something happens, they know I'm going to be there. I'm just worried about myself and whatever the bosses tell me, I'm going to fight."
Lawler sees some similarities between himself and Ellenberger -- "he likes to knock people out. I like to knock people out." But mostly, Lawler is just trying to get better and "max out [his] potential." American Top Team has helped him do that. The gym has been an integral part of the 32-year-old's career renaissance.
"I'm just more mature in all aspects of life," Lawler said.
Constantly, Lawler is asked about a rematch with Nick Diaz. It's not a fight Lawler is uninterested in -- he would fight just about anyone -- but he feels like it's silly to talk about it.
"First of all, he's retired," Lawler said. "Let him be retired until he decides to come back. There's no reason to talk about him. He's a hell of a fighter. He's one of the best in the world. But he's retired, so there's no sense in pushing for something that's not there."
Diaz told MMA Fighting last month that he won't fight unless the UFC pays him $500,000 per bout. UFC president Dana White said last week that he thinks Diaz is just going to ride out the current money he has until he decides he has to fight again.
Lawler could not be any more ambivalent about Diaz's holdout.
"I'm not gonna tell any man what he should do in life," he said. "Who am I to tell anybody or judge them? That's frickin' ridiculous. He's a grown a** man. He can decide what he wants and who am I to say anything about anything?"
“I'm not gonna tell any man what he should do in life. Who am I to tell anybody or judge them? That's frickin' ridiculous. He's a grown a** man. He can decide what he wants and who am I to say anything about anything?”
Would he do the same thing? Probably not. But that doesn't mean Lawler will pass his opinion along about someone else.
"They can do whatever they want," he said. "That's what makes life awesome."