Upon reading the news that “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler was making a return to the Octagon in the wake of Strikeforce’s demise, my first thought was, “Nice, Robbie may not be the terror he once was, but he’s an exciting fighter.” Then after reading that his opponent was to be Josh Koscheck my next thought was, “WTF, did he bang Dana’s wife or something?”
This is just a bad match-up for Lawler. He’s still a devastating striker – a term that will no doubt be repeated ad nausem by Mike Goldberg on fight night, but he does not fare well against grapplers of any sort. Robbie is a guy who never took to the whole wrastlin’ thing, despite coming from a wrestling background, spending all those years at the Miletich camp, and being a best bud and business partner of Matt Hughes. Sure, he can sprawl with the best of them in the opening two minutes, but then he goes to his back easier than my ex-girlfriend on a “business trip.”
Don’t let his 30 years of age fool you either. Lawler has been around this game since his teens. So by the logic of fight years, Robbie is like 89 or something. And even though 170 is more suited for his build, Lawler has been fighting at middleweight for the better part of a decade. He’ll make weight, but he’s going to have to deploy drastic measures, possibly even shaving off the mountain-man beard and cutting his toe-nails really, really short, like to the point where it hurts like a mother fucker.
The only positive I can see for Lawler here is that even though he’s been out of the UFC spotlight for many years, he’s kept active against some tough competition. Sure, he lost more than he won as of late, but knocking off cans doesn’t prepare a guy to make his UFC return against a Top 10 welterweight.
We won’t have to wait long to see how Lawler will make out. The Koscheck fight is scheduled for UFC 157 on February 23rd and my guess is that even with a fight IQ hovering near Forrest Gump territory, Kos will play it smart, easily plant Lawler on his back, and commence to take out his frustrations of not getting the big Nick Diaz fight on Lawler’s freshly shaved face.
Here’s to wishing Robbie the best of luck. He’s going to need it.