Former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler truly lives up to his nickname “Ruthless” inside the Octagon. Lawler made his UFC debut all the way back at UFC 37, when he was just 20 years old, and has delivered some incredible fights over the years.
Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald II
UFC 189 – July 11, 2015
There’s no doubt, Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald II is one of the best fights in UFC history. The two warriors left it all in the Octagon, duking it out with the UFC welterweight title on the line. It was the type of fight you couldn’t take your eyes off.
MacDonald started off fast by utilizing his jab and his kicks to keep the range, but Lawler was able to start turning the fight into a brawl in the second round. Lawler was able to get inside and start landing some power shots, including a punch that busted MacDonald’s nose. MacDonald continued to fire back even as Lawler pressed forward, and at the end of the third round, MacDonald was able to hurt Lawler with a massive head kick. Despite a barrage of kicks and punches, Lawler remained standing when the bell rang and the two moved on to the championship rounds.
Round four started just as round three ended, with MacDonald picking Lawler apart with a mix of kicks, elbows, and knees. MacDonald eventually split Lawler’s lip and finished the fourth round looking strong. At the end of the round, both fighters stood in the center of the Octagon for a few intense moments, staring straight at one another. It’s an insane moment that had the entire building in chaos.
Entering the fifth round, Lawler had his arms up and he was pumping the crowd up, almost like he knew what was about to happen. Lawler landed a straight left directly to MacDonald’s compromised nose that sent him to the canvas, and after 21 minutes of true battle, Lawler had not only defended his title, but he had delivered the performance of a lifetime.
That’s when Lawler, with his lip torn, let out a primal scream that will go down as one of the most iconic moments in UFC history.
Robbie Lawler vs Johny Hendricks
UFC 181 – December 6, 2014
Robbie Lawler | Fighter Timeline
Robbie Lawler | Fighter Timeline
If you’re looking for a 25 second clip that defines what kind of fighter Lawler is, watch the final 25 seconds of his UFC 181 title fight with Johny Hendricks. At the very end of a close fight, Lawler put the pedal to the metal, completely overwhelming Hendricks. Even though he wasn’t able to get the finish, Lawler was given the split decision win and became the UFC welterweight champion.
To see Lawler finally have the UFC belt wrapped around his waist was an incredible moment. From UFC to PRIDE to Strikeforce and back, he finally reached the top.
Robbie Lawler vs Carlos Condit
UFC 195 – January 2, 2016
Anytime that you have two guys like Lawler and Condit throwing down you know it’s going to be a good one. Lawler and Condit dropped each other early but both fighters were able to recover and battle it out over five rounds.
Condit had Lawler hurt multiple times, but Lawler was able to bite down on his mouthpiece and hang in there when it got tough. Lawler’s ability to flip a switch in the fifth round and absolutely swarm Condit was the definition of championship grit.
It was a close fight, no doubt about it. But if you’re from the camp that you must win decisively against a champion to take the belt away from them, then you’ve got to tip your cap to Lawler for leaving everything he had out there and keeping the welterweight strap.
Robbie Lawler vs Jake Ellenberger
UFC 173 – May 24, 2014
After failing to capture the vacant welterweight title against Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler needed a bounce back performance. He was able to accomplish that in a big way by knocking out Jake Ellenberger at UFC 173.
“Ruthless” never stopped moving forward, he stalked Ellenberger and he never allowed him to find his rhythm. Lawler’s constant pressure had Ellenberger in danger for the entire fight until he connected with a lightning quick jab that sent Ellenberger retreating. Lawler followed that up with a devastating knee that finished the fight for good.
It was dominant and it was definitely “Ruthless”.
Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald I
UFC 167 – November 16, 2013
The second bout between these two sits at the top of this list and likely sits close to the top of the greatest UFC fights of all-time, but their first bout was also very good. Lawler and MacDonald played a dangerous version of chess that continued for all three rounds.
MacDonald didn’t wilt under Lawler’s pressure and fired back with his impressive striking arsenal before landing a takedown in the second round. MacDonald had some success as he pinned Lawler down, but as he stood up, Lawler’s smile said it all. Round three was going to be his.
The momentum changed in a big way when Lawler connected with two big shots at the beginning of the third. MacDonald grabbed onto Lawler and the two scrambled a bit before Lawler was able to coax MacDonald into a brawl for the final half of the round. That’s when Lawler landed the big shot that dropped MacDonald and sent the Canadian into a survival mode. It was without a doubt the biggest moment of the fight and helped him secure a victory.
The unanimous decision victory set Lawler up for his run to the title and set the tone for their second matchup years later.