It took Robbie Lawler twelve years from his initial UFC debut to finally get a crack at the UFC Welterweight title, and apparently he is happy to wait for another shot.
Lawler is coming off a tough decision loss to now champion, Johny Hendricks, back at UFC 171 for the vacant Welterweight title. Hendricks came out strong in the first two rounds, stymying Lawler’s offense. Lawler kicked into another gear in rounds 3 and 4 to tie up the bout going into the fifth and final round. As the two men battled for the title in the fifth, Hendricks returned to his bread and butter, his wrestling, to ultimately secure the decision and the title.
While Hendricks was forced to undergo bicep surgery after the bout, Lawler has decided to throw himself right back into the fray, taking a bout against Jake Ellenberger on short notice. Originally, Ellenberger was set to face off against former StrikeForce Welterweight champion, Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 172. Saffiedine was forced out of the bout with an injury, so the UFC elected to put Lawler in his place and move the bout to UFC 173.
Lawler spoke about the matchup with Ellenberger in a recent interview with MMAJunkie:
I’m not dwelling on the loss at all. It comes down to getting better, working on my skills and pushing myself to get better. That’s about it. The opportunity arose where I could get a fight. I’m making the most of it. I’m back in the gym and working out, getting my body ready.
[Jake is] a quality opponent. He’s one of the top fighters in the UFC right now at 170. He brings power, he brings wrestling, he brings a lot of skills to the table and I need to be sharp to beat a guy like him.
I’m not even looking at the title picture right now. I’m looking at Jake as a huge test and I need to get ready for him. I’m not looking past him or where this puts me on the list of all the fighters in the division. I know I just need to push myself, get better and everything else will take care of itself.