Robbie Lawler started fighting in 2001, and the next year the Miletich camp protege was in the UFC. There he went 4-3, and was gone by 2004. He then fought for the highest bidder, including Icon, ILF< Pride, Elite XC, and Strikeforce, returning to the UFC only this year.
Lawler went just 1-3 his last four fights in Strikeforce. However, now fighting out of ATT in Coconut Creek, FL, Lawler is white hot in the UFC, going 3-0 in 2013, capped with Saturday's beating of what had been the welterweight heir apparent Rory MacDonald.
Just like that, Lawler is a top contender for the welterweight title. At the UFC 167 post-fight press conference, president Dana White expressed enthusiasm and appreciattion for "Ruthless."
"The thing is about Robbie Lawler, I'm the one that brought Robbie Lawler into the UFC," said White as transcribed by MMAMania. "Robbie Lawler when he was younger, all he gave a s--- about was making money. 'I want to fight where whoever is going to pay me the most money. I need money.'"
"And there's been so many times that Robbie and I have talked throughout the years when he fought for other organizations and he'd be like 'I want to come back and fight for you guys. I want to come back and fight for the UFC.' And I'd say, 'kid, it makes no sense. I'm not going to pay you what these guys are paying you. It doesn't make sense here. They need you over there and they've got to pay you whatever the hell to keep you.'"
"Now, we bought Strikeforce and he's back in the UFC, he's a completely different animal. He doesn't talk about money anymore. Now it's about winning that title. He's getting older now. he's not this young, crazy kid anymore."
"It's about before this opportunity goes away, he wants a run at the title. And he's doing it."