Article

Lawler And MacDonald Both Different Fighters in 2015

Robbie Lawler hasn’t had to carry the promotional load for UFC 189, even though he’s the UFC’s welterweight champion and a big fan favorite.

RELATED CONTENT: MacDonald - The Time Has Come | Lawler - Ready To Defend | Robbie, Rory All Business Before UFC 189

Most of the attention has gone to featherweight Conor McGregor, who meets Chad Mendes in the main event Saturday at MGM Grand for the interim title. But Lawler said Wednesday he doesn’t mind taking a back seat for this fight card.

“It’s just business as usual,” he said Wednesday after he and challenger Rory MacDonald took part in a public workout. “If I had to carry the show, I’d do that. But I’m just going to go out there and be me, and get in Rory’s face and get a knockout.

“I don’t really concentrate on the promotion as much. I’m just going to be me and hope the crowd loves it.”

MORE CONTENT: Watch UFC 189 Open Workouts Recap

Rory MacDonald holds an open training session for fans and media at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on July 8, 2015 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC)The scheduled five-round fight will mark Lawler’s first defense of the title he won from Johny Hendricks at UFC 181 last December.

It’s also his second bout with MacDonald (18-2), the division’s No. 2 contender. Lawler won a three-round split decision from MacDonald in November 2013.

MacDonald said later he wasn’t in the right frame of mind in their first fight, something he vows won’t happen this time. In fact, that loss renewed his energy.

“It re-motivated me,” he said. “It lit the fire again. Sometimes the fire goes out a bit. It sparked the flame, and now I’m feeling good. I’m feeling hungry.”

Robbie Lawler speaks to the media after an open training session for fans and media at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on July 8, 2015 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC)So is Lawler (25-10), who acknowledged a respect for MacDonald but still plans to end their fight quickly.

“I respect everyone in the cage, but it’s all about me going out there and showcasing what I’m capable of and all the hard work that I’ve put in,” Lawler said. “The last seven months I’ve grown as a fighter. I’ve continued to grow every fight, and I’m going to showcase it.”

MacDonald has won three in a row since his loss to Lawler but said he’s not concerned with how much the champion has changed in the past year and a half.

“I’m not really thinking about Robbie,” he said. “I’m thinking about myself and just focusing on that.”

Rory MacDonald speaks to the media after an open training session for fans and media at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on July 8, 2015 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC)Lawler said he hasn’t thought much about whether or how much MacDonald has evolved as a fighter since they last met. His concentration has been on himself and his improvement.

He expects to show it Saturday night.

“I’m not too worried about where he was at that point (in their first fight),” Lawler said. “I’m worried about where I am today. I feel awesome, my body feels great, and it’s all about me.

“I’m ready to cement who I am as a fighter and show everyone how I’ve grown. I’m going to put on a great performance.”

Michael Martinez is a longtime sports journalist and former staff writer at The New York Times, the San Jose Mercury News and FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMMartinez
Saturday, January 20
10PM/7PM
ETPT
Boston, MA

Media

Recent
The stars of UFC 220 square off one last time before entering the Octagon Saturday in Boston. There's still time to order for any device at: https://www.ufc.tv/video/ufc-220
Jan 19, 2017
Watch the highlights from the UFC 25th Anniversary Series Press Conference from TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Jan 19, 2018
Massachusetts UFC fighters Rob Font, Calvin Kattar and Kyle Bochniak talk about what it means to be fighting in front of their hometown Boston fans the same weekend as the New England Patriots go for the AFC Championship.
Jan 19, 2018
Joe Rogan previews the fireworks sure to come in the heavyweight title bout between champion Stipe Miocic and challenger Francis Ngannou, headling UFC 220 Saturday night, live from Boston and only on Pay-Per-View.
Jan 19, 2018