Anyone who has followed Robbie’s career knows the answer to that question is a pretty definitive: no. This week’s official UFC rankings, however, beg to differ. Despite only one win/fight at 170 in the last nine years, the UFC have him ranked as the eleventh best welterweight on the planet. Jon Fitch, Nate Marquardt, Rick Story , Thiago Alves, hell even Ben Askren all did their best Tommy Lee Jones impersonation upon hearing the news:
Many will point out the fact that he didn’t just win a fight; he beat Josh Koscheck, a former title challenger. But personally, I think his win was more indicative of Koscheck’s steady decline since having his face broken by GSP, than any sort of career resurgence for Lawler. His next best win at 170? It’s a toss-up between a pre-TUF Chris Lytle and Tiki Ghosn.
All that being said, with Jon Fitch recently axed and some calling for Koscheck to be cut as well, the top of the heap at welterweight is being culled of Robbie’s kryptonite: wrestlers. If Joe Silva were to hand-pick some opponents and Lawler managed to bag a few lucky punch KOs, would wins against let’s say Tarec Saffiedine, Martin Kampmann and Demain Maia not make him a viable challenger?
Perhaps this new attitude of ‘WAR stand-and-bangers! / fuck wrestlers!’ will provide Ruthless Robbie the chance to shine. Or maybe the UFC just needs to fix their rankings.