Robbie Lawler is fighter of the year
By: Brett Okamoto, ESPN
"As Robbie Lawler sat on his stool after the third round of a championship fight against Johny Hendricks on Dec. 6, the words of his cornermen said it all.
"Lawler, 32, was on the cusp of accomplishing something many used to think was a given, when he was a high school kid training out of Miletich Fighting Systems in Bettendorf, Iowa: winning a UFC title.
"But after that third round at UFC 181, momentum wasn't on Lawler's side. He had come out and won the first frame, but lost the next two.
"His longtime boxing coach, Matt Pena, kneeled in front of him and told him that after all these years, it had to be now. It had to happen in the next 10 minutes. His longtime mentor, Pat Miletich, ran around the outside of the cage and begged Lawler to let his hands go.
"Lawler, ESPN's Fighter of the Year, listened -- especially in the final seconds. He tore into Hendricks as the fifth round closed in a performance that finally won him UFC gold."
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