Thu Mar 06 04:27pm EST
Back when Robbie Lawler first burst onto the UFC scene as the organization's youngest fighter ever, there was perhaps more hype surrounding the welterweight than he could handle. After losing two straight, Lawler was out of the UFC.
Despite looking in from the outside for nearly a decade afterwards, Lawler stayed on his grind and has made the most of his second chance - winning three straight fights and earning a title shot March 15 against Johny Hendricks at UFC 171.
Back in his first UFC stint, Lawler may not have been able to handle all the attention the quiet fighter is as he heads into a world title fight. "Outside the ring, I never really wanted to do the PR, I never wanted to be in the light," Lawler remembers of his younger days during a recent media conference call.
"I wasn’t ready to be in the light. I’m just a quiet guy who just loved to fight. I think, as I matured, I’m ready to take that step and I’m embracing everything that has to do with the UFC. I’m ready to be out there in front of everyone and do what it takes to be a champion."
Lawler is one fight away from being just that - a champion. It is a rare young prodigy that can flame out but still stay focused and earn a second act in the spotlight.
Lawler says that the key to not just climbing back to the UFC, but getting further than he ever did before in his twenties, is in the hard, detailed work he's committed to daily.
"Just persevering," Lawler says of his key to success.
"I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs..Just being willing to get back up and grind every day to try and get better. Moving down to [American] Top Team, they really strengthened my game. All the coaches down there really pushed me and...all the training partners. So, everything’s clicking at the right time and I’m going to be ready March 15th."
Lawler may have surprised observers by reaching title contender status so quickly since returning to the UFC in 2013, but the fighter himself never doubted that his potential was world class. "The thing is, I've always believed in myself," Lawler explains.
"I always believed that I was going to be the best in the world. I'm glad that in the sport, in the UFC and MMA you can write your own stories and you don't have to worry about what other people expect out of you. I expect greatness out of myself, so I pushed myself. I just always believed in myself no matter what anyone said and I was willing to grind for the fourteen years I've been doing this and I'm not going to stop."
Thu Mar 06 03:43pm EST
The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) recently banned the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in all cases, changing course from its previous allowance of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) in certain cases. Now, California's athletic commission is heading in the same direction as Nevada.
A written press release from the CSAC executive director Andy Foster says that the state has begun a rule making process to eventually require a much higher threshold for allowing TUE for TRT and that, untl those rules are set up, there is a total ban on TRT.
"The California State Athletic Commission fully supports the Nevada State Athletic Commission's decision to eliminate Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) in boxing and Mixed Martial Arts," Foster wrote.
"California is a strong supporter of anti-doping efforts. As part of California's anti-doping efforts, the Commission recently began the rulemaking process to require meeting World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) standards as the only way to obtain a TUE for TRT.
"This standard is so high that it is an effective ban except under the most extreme circumstances," Foster went on.
"Until the rule making process is complete and the regulations are fully adopted, the Commission has a total ban on TRT. California remains committed to protecting the health and safety of athletes and having strict anti-doping standards is one of the ways this is accomplished."
Thu Mar 06 03:13pm EST
Chael Sonnen once said, after failing a drug test, that he would die without using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Sonnen was suspended but eventually given a therapeutic use exemption to receive TRT.
Now that the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has decided to stop giving exemptions for the use of TRT in any cases, fighters like Sonnen and Vitor Belfort - who also once failed a NSAC administered post-fight drug test - have some decisions to make. Belfort pulled out of a title fight because he wouldn't be able to use TRT and his representatives have said that he is working with doctors to see how he can adjust to life without TRT and fight again.
Belfort had, as recently as last fall, said that it would be "no problem" for him to compete without TRT. It is a problem after all, for Belfort.
As for Sonnen, he was recently asked what the future held for him on his UFC Tonight show. Currently, he is set to face rival Wanderlei Silva (who has already spoken at length about Sonnen's TRT use) in the spring.
However, Sonnen admitted that, without TRT, he may never actually fight again. "There's a lot of moving parts. I don't have all the answers," Sonnen said.
"The bottom line is testosterone is out. Now, as it relates to Vitor, I think this was a very genuine and sincere thing for him. Here's the problem that I have: a fighter that said seven days ago, ‘I need TRT or I can't do this,' and then all of a sudden goes, ‘Well, I'll just stop TRT.' I find that very disingenuous. "I am potentially in that same field. If this retires guys, then it retires guys. The rules are the rules, and the rules need to be followed. Personally, sorry to be long winded about this, but I'm going through this myself, where I've had to stop testosterone with the hope that we can find a new way to gain the results of upping testosterone to stay at a healthy level. If it doesn't work, I may have to stop the sport. And it's as simple as that."
Silva, always eager to trash Sonnen after all of the racist things "The American Gangster" has said about Brazil and Brazilian fighters over the years, said that Sonnen should be allowed to use whatever he wants leading into their scheduled bout, as far as he is concerned.
"Sonnen can use whatever he wants. If you want to use TRT, use TNT," Wand said in a recent interview.
"I'll beat him anyway."
Thu Mar 06 01:03pm EST
UFC welterweight Nick Diaz is retired. Sorta. Kinda. The Stockton tough guy has made it clear that he would fight again, but only for a third straight crack at the now vacant UFC 170 pound belt.
On March 15, it will be Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will face off for the title. Hendricks isn't overlooking Lawler but recently anwered questions about who he might face should he emerge victorious from his bout with Lawler.
Regarding Diaz, Hendricks has praise for the Jiu Jitsu ace but doesn't feel that he deserves a title shot after losing to St. Pierre himself and Carlos Condit before that.
"Realistically, I think he needs to fight a couple of times," Hendricks said of Diaz.
"What is he, 0-2 in his last few fights? It is what it is, but if the UFC said, ‘Hey Johny, you’ve got to fight him,’ well guess what? I’m not going to say no...His stock is always high. He's a great fighter but if he beats up one or two people then, yeah, he's earned it."
Condit will also fight Tyrone Woodley on the undercard of Hendricks vs. Lawler. Hendricks believes that the winner of that contest will emerge as the next #1 contender.
"If I win this fight, it’s going to be between one of them two,” Hendricks said.
"Carlos is always a tough opponent; same thing with Woodley.. Those two, they're fighting the same night. But a fight's a fight. You never know what’s going to happen. You just have to say whoever wants to come after you, let them come at you, and you move forward from that."
Hendricks believes he's ready for Lawler and whomever comes after. Who do you want to see come away with wins in this unofficial welterweight tournament?
Let us know in the comments section.
Wed Mar 05 01:27pm EST
Most pundits aren't giving light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa a chance this Saturday when he takes on Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 37 in London. Manuwa is just 3-0 in his UFC career thus far and Gustafsson is coming off the fight of his life last year when he took division champion Jon Jones the distance and arguably deserved to get the decision nod and title.
Gustafsson certainly did enough to earn an immediate rematch but instead he will face the British KO artist in his own backyard. The home town underdog may not have many believers against the Swede, but Manuwa has enough confidence in himself to go around.
"My technique has come along by leaps and bounds," Manuwa said in a recent ESPN interview.
"I throw some of the hardest kicks now; those are some of my main weapons. My punches are harder and faster. I'm just a wrecking machine at the moment."
Manuwa's main attribute is his stopping power, and it's one that he said he first became aware of as a child.
“We used to go to the fairground, and there’s that punchable thing that measures your power,” Manuwa remembered. “It was from one of those that I knew I could punch. My friends would come around, and we’d have competitions."
So, don't be surprised if Manuwa expects his heavily-favored opponent Saturday to end up as just another victim. After all, what the Brit possesses, he believes he's had since birth. That kind of confidence is hard to shake.
“[My power is] God-given,” Manuwa went on.
"I have 14 stoppages. There are a lot of those moments.”
Wed Mar 05 12:13pm EST
This Saturday in London, UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard will square up against a former sparring partner in Michael Johnson. The two regularly trained with one another when they were on the Blackzilans team, though Guillard says that he was never friendly with Johnson, whom he doesn't like personally.
These days, Guillard is a part of the South Florida rival of the Blackzilians, American Top Team, and relishes the chance to KO Johnson. He's also confident that he will since, Guillard says, he used to get the better of MJ when they sparred with one another.
"If I had to say who got the better of each other, about eighty percent of the time I knew I got the best of him,” Guillard recently told MMA Weekly.
"I got more experience, I’m the better fighter, I'm the stronger fighter, I'm the faster fighter, and I got knockout power. Mike's been rallying up some wins lately, but I'm any fighter's kryptonite. Nobody wants to fight me. In the back of his mind, he's probably like, 'Damn, I really have to fight Melvin Guillard?' I'm just going to call it like that. I'll say that to any fighter. I'm not an easy fight for anybody."
As for his personal gripe with Johnson, Guillard says that his opponent is just a scared kid at heart.
"I think he's just one of those guys who grew up scared of people and then learned how to fight somewhere along the way," Guillard said.
"I can look right through that kid. He ain't no gangster, that's for sure." Who are you picking in this match up and, why? Let us know in the comments section.
Wed Mar 05 11:24am EST
Lightweight Mac Danzig has called it a career after nearly thirteen years as an MMA fighter and over six years in the UFC. The former Ultimate Fighter winner released a statement on his Tumblr blog yesterday announcing his retirement from fighting.
The well-conditioned, well-rounded and always exciting fighter had lost three straight bouts before deciding to retire. Danzig, now a father, cited increased brain trauma sustained in training the past few years as the major reason for his deciding to hang up his gloves.
Wed Mar 05 08:33am EST
UFC champion Ronda Rousey was recently a guest on the Power 106 FM radio station (video below) and shed some light on the main difference between MMA and boxing. When asked by the show's host if she'd be able to beat boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. in an MMA-rules fight inside the UFC Octagon, Rousey was self-deprecating but honest in assessing that she'd likely be able to take out "Money" if she kept the fight on the ground.
"I’ll tell you what I’d do," Rousey began.
"You ready? I would drop down to the ground and crawl over to him as fast I as I can and then I’d grab him by … I wouldn't even stand up. I wouldn’t be anywhere near him. I would just do a little army crawl over there [laughs]. He’d have to run away and I’d be skittering after him, like the one dude in 'Bloodsport' who was doing the whole monkey-crawl fight system. I would do that. I would just bear crawl over there, just too low for him to hit me and tackle him down."
The show's host then asked Ronda if what she was saying was that, once she were to get the fight with Mayweather to the ground, that would be it.
"Well, I spend a lot of time there. I doubt that he does," Rousey explained humbly.
True enough. Every fighter knows that you fight the way you train.
If a great athlete and fighter like Floyd, who never spends any time defending himself from people grabbing him or trying to take him down and hurt him on the ground, faced someone who trained every day to do those things, chances are that he wouldn't be able to deal with them.
So, yeah. We'd bet on Ronda beating Floyd. They are roughly the same size and, though Mayweather is clearly the better stand-up striker, as Rousey concedes, the UFC bantamweight champ is the more well-rounded fighter.
Check out the video of Rousey's interview below.
Who would you put your money on in an MMA rules fight - Rousey or Mayweather? Let us know in the comments section.
Tue Mar 04 06:47pm EST
Jon Jones hasn't always kept himself in great shape in between fights but if a recent tweet from the UFC light heavyweight champ can be believed, "Bones" is already pretty lean more than a month before he defends his belt at UFC 172 against Glover Teixeira. Jones takes on the Brazilian in Baltimore April 26 and he says he's already well within striking distance of the 205 pound weight limit.
Fighters routinely cut over ten pounds of water weight the week of a fight in order to make weight. If Jones is indeed just 218 pounds right now, it would appear that he's either sticking at this weight all through camp or getting even lower as the fight draws near in order to avoid severely dehydrating himself in order to make weight.
Do you think Jones staying light (while feasting on what looks like cauliflower, quinoa and a type of white fish) will help him against Teixeira? Let us know in the comments section.
Tue Mar 04 06:23pm EST
UFC contenders Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler will face each other March 15 in a five round pay per view main event with the vacant welterweight world title at stake. Check out the video above for a sneak peak at their respective training camps.
Watch Hendricks spar at his Team Takedown headquarters in Texas and hear him talk about the importance of not letting fights get to the judges. Also, see Lawler go through his grueling strength and conditioning routine in Florida, where he is preparing with the American Top Team.
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