Brown poised to pull off another upset in the UFC octagon

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Robbie Lawler believes he’s ready for another shot at the UFC welterweight championship he let slip through his hands four months ago.


Columbus resident Matt Brown, back, works with Bellefontaine’s Scott Sheeley at Ohio Fitness & Martial Arts in June. Brown fights Robbie Lawler tonight in a UFC fight televised on Fox. The winner will get a chance to compete for the UFC welterweight championship. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)

A number of fighters in the division can make the same claim. But the 32-year-old Lawler is the clear-cut favorite with four wins and a narrow loss in his five fights since returning to the UFC.

“Everything’s clicking at the right time,” Lawler said.

“Before, I wasn’t ready for the stage. I didn’t want to do these interviews. I didn’t want to be in front of the cameras. I just wanted to beat people up and get out. I’ve grown up now. I’m doing what it takes to be a really good fighter.”

Lawler’s lone loss since coming back was to Johny Hendricks at UFC 171 in March when the two fought for the vacant title left open after former champ Georges St. Pierre stepped down, saying he needed a break from the sport.

Lawler (23-10, 19 KOs) is expected to get another crack at Hendricks, provided the top ranked contender beats knockout artist Matt Brown (21-11, 13 KOs) in Saturday’s main event at the SAP Center.

It will be the Lawler’s fifth fight in the past year. Included in those were knockout wins against Bobby Voelker and Jake Ellenberger, and a split-decision over Rory MacDonald.

The win over Ellenberger on May 24 put Lawler firmly back into the title hunt after his loss to Hendricks in March.

“It’s good. It kept me busy, kept me working,” Lawler said.

“I didn’t have to go into these last two camps trying to get into shape, so I could work on things. I could work on fine-tuning skills and just get better day to day.” 

Lawler left the UFC a decade ago after consecutive losses to Nick Diaz and Evan Turner in 2004. On the fast track since his return, Lawler acknowledged he has watched very little tape of the scrappy Brown, who has won his past seven fights — six by knockout.

“I didn’t watch any Ellenberger fights either,” Lawler said. “I have about five or six coaches that do all the breaking down for me, and then they put me in those situations in practice. It’s always worked out pretty good. So when I’m in the fight, I’ve already been there a million times.” 


Read the complete story in Saturday's Examiner.