Even if you’re a casual UFC fan, you probably know that successful fighters typically end their matches in the same fashion. Ronda Rousey, for example, almost always arm-bars opponents into submission, while others opt for knockouts.
But which one is easier to achieve: a submission or a knockout?
“For me, I’m a knockout artist, so it’s easier for me to knock somebody out,” UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “That’s my style. Everyone’s different. Some people are fast, some people are slow, some people are wrestlers. Different styles make different match-ups, but I’m a striker.”
Yes, he is. Lawler, who is 25-10 with one no decision, has recorded a knockout in 19 of his wins. That’s a 76 percent clip. That’s also what happens when you’ve got knuckles as vicious as his.
Not that he uses them outside of the ring or anything.
“I don’t put my hands on anyone until July 11,” he said. “I keep them holstered.”
July 11, of course, is the day of UFC 189, which will be held at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Lawler, 33, will defend his belt against 25-year-old Rory MacDonald (18-2, 7 KOs), who has won eight of his last nine fights.
The only loss? A split decision to Lawler at UFC 167 in November 2013.
“He’s a well-rounded fighter,” Lawler said. “He comes from one of the best camps in the world. He’s trained under Georges St-Pierre, who’s a champion for a long time. So that camp knows what it takes to build a champion and get the job done. He’s a heck of an athlete. He’s well-rounded. I just need to go out there and take the fight to him.”
The 6-1 MacDonald has about three inches on the 5-10 Lawler and, as a result, a longer reach. That will make it harder for Lawler to get inside and put his fists to good use, but he doesn’t seem too concerned.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Lawler said. “It’s just training with training partners who are long – longer than him. So I get used to doing those things – slipping my head, moving my head, getting inside and just dealing with someone with his attributes.”
Lawler, who debuted in 2002, has seen just about everything in his 13 years in the octagon. He has no plans to retire in the near future, but when the time is right, he’ll know it.
“It’s just one of those things,” he said. “If I’m not mentally prepared – if I don’t want to go in there and grind with all the 20-year-olds and my body’s not recovering like it needs to – then it’s time to retire. But if I have both of those, I’m going to keep competing. But you can’t do one without the other. You have to have that drive to actually push yourself and train with those kids who want what you have.”
Kids such as MacDonald, who is eight years Lawler’s junior.
Brandon Tierney believes Lawler will win what should be a physical fight.
“That’s the plan,” Lawler said. “I’m going to go out there and get in his face and force a fight – and when there’s a fight, I’m going to come out victorious.”
Lawler and MacDonald are sharing the main event card with featherweight champion Jose Aldo (25-1, 14 KOs) and top contender Conor McGregor (17-2, 15 KOs).
McGregor, who has won 13 straight matches, has become arguably the hottest name in the UFC men’s division.
“It’s (about) winning (and) promoting yourself,” Lawler said. “He does a great job of promoting himself. He does a good job of talking. But plan and simple, you have to beat people up. He’s doing the best of both worlds.”