In 2002 and 2003, Robbie Lawler was the talk of the UFC. The young phenom took the mixed-martial arts world by storm, displaying a combination of speed and power that was rare in the sport at the time.
Then a couple of losses in 2004 led to Lawler’s departure from the UFC, followed by eight years of bouncing from organization to organization. That changes Saturday night when Lawler finally comes back home to the UFC after a long absence when he takes on Josh Koscheck in a welterweight bout at UFC 157 in Anaheim, Calif.
Lawler, who trained for the fight at the American Top Team Gym in Coconut Creek, hopes the bout will be a springboard to bigger opportunities.
“It’s awesome being back,” said Lawler, 30. “This is a huge opportunity for me to fight in the UFC again. I figured it would happen again in my career, and I am honored to have the chance to be fighting in the UFC.”
Lawler, a native of San Diego, says his training under the tutelage of Ricardo Liborio and Conan Silveira at ATT gym has been crucial.
“They are really good coaches,” he said. “The coaching aspect of this training camp was amazing. In the ATT gym you also have a lot of bodies to rough you up physically and mentally. It helps you prepare immensely for the real fight. It was a really structured camp.”
At this point of his career Lawler knows there’s little room for error – and a loss to Koscheck could damage his aspirations. But he’s thinking positive.
“I’ve learned from every single opportunity I’ve had in my career,” he said. “If you’re not learning, you’re not living. I’ve learned a lot over the years. The experience has made me wiser, stronger and better prepared. This fight signifies something big for my career, so the plan is to beat Josh Koscheck. The rest remains to be seen.”
ROUSEY VS. CARMOUCHE TO MAKE HISTORY
Ronda Rousey, perhaps the best female mixed-martial arts fighter in the world, makes history at UFC 157 when she defends her UFC women’s bantamweight championship against Liz Carmouche in what will be the first women’s bout in UFC history.
UFC president Dana White signed Rousey last November and announced she would be headlining. Rousey held a title in Strikeforce, is 6-0, and has become a sensation with her good looks and ability to finish off opponents with her signature move – the arm bar. She also appeared in last year’s ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue.