It was over a decade ago that Robbie Lawler first made his Octagon debut. At the time, the young fighter was already a ferocious knockout artist, a label he would carry with him throughout his early UFC career, and later in the IFL, Elite XC, Strikeforce and elsewhere. But in the eyes of many critics, Robbie was part of a waning breed of fighter—a sprawl and brawler who was susceptible to the rapidly evolving skillsets of a new crop of talent. Robbie had mixed results in Strikeforce, losing five of eight bouts under their flag before the UFC assumed the reigns. A return to the big show meant a new opportunity to adapt and overcome. It was time for change.
Robbie found a new home at American Top Team where the polishing of his skillset is now paying dividends. Already a competent boxer and wrestler, the time spent at ATT has honed Robbie into the most dangerous version yet. Now, a first round stoppage of Josh Koscheck and a KO of Bobby Voelker have set him on a collision course with one of the welterweight division’s brightest young stars, Rory MacDonald. Turn to page 44 where Sam Sheridan explores the mind of the “thinking brawler” to find out just how Robbie’s preparations and mental outlook have evolved.
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