Robert Glenn Lawler (born 1982 in San Diego, California, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida) is widely considered one of the most consistently entertaining mixed martial artists. An American former UFC Welterweight Champion, the 38 year-old broad-shouldered veteran has competed in MMA since 2001 leaving a trail of vicious knockouts and brutal finishes whilst competing in a handful of promotions including Strikeforce, PRIDE, International Fighting League (IFL), and Elite Xtreme Combat(EliteXC).
Known as “Ruthless”, the nickname was given to him in reference to his combative nature and devastating knockout power. Robbie has experienced his fair share of disappointments and successes but whenever he enters the octagon, his aggressive, power-punching fighting style often intimidates garnering him a list of savage highlight reel knockouts and finishes.
Prior to moving from San Diego, Robbie enrolled in Taekwondo classes at 8 years-old but after 2 years, changed to Karate when he moved to Bettendorf, Iowa, with his father. His athletic prowess was prominent as he received all-state honors in wresting and football at Bettendorf High School, catching the scouting eye of former Croatian-American MMA fighter, Patrick Jay Miletich.
The former UFC Welterweight Champion and UFC 16 welterweight tournament winner welcomed a promising 16 year-old Robbie Lawler under his wing. After graduating in 2000, Lawler trained with under Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS) for 13 years where he would cultivate and solidify himself as a fearsome welterweight contender.
With his professional MMA debut in 2001, over his first four fights, “Ruthless” brought gravitas to his nickname by wins via TKO/KO. Lawler’s outstanding performances got noticed by the UFC and he represented the organization at UFC 37 fighting against veteran Aaron Riley for his debut.
After his Welterweight title reign, “Ruthless” fought in matchups against elite martial artists like Donald Cerrone, Colby Covington, Rafael Dos Anjos, Ben Askren, and is scheduled to face Neil Magny on August 29th, 2020. As of June 23rd, 2020, Lawler is ranked #13 in the UFC Welterweight category and has amassed 20 KO/TKO wins in his career.
Having trained with other welterweight contenders and prospects, such as Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington, he now currently trains at Sanford MMA where he has challenging sparring partners including former UFC Middleweight Champion, Luke Rockhold and, top welterweight contender, Gilbert Burns – a tough team to help train you for upcoming bouts.
Okay, time to get “Ruthless” as we run straight through Robbie Lawler’s most dominating Top 5 MMA Finishes (in descending order)!
- Vs. Joey Villaseñor — Pride 32 (Oct. 21, 2006)
- Vs. Matt Lindland — Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2 (Dec. 4, 2010)
- Vs. Melvin Manhoef — Strikeforce: Miami (Jan. 30, 2010)
- Vs. Jake Ellenberger — UFC 173 (May 24, 2014)
- Vs. Rory MacDonald 2 — UFC 189 (July 11, 2015)
With his recent loss against Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller, Lawler was eyeing a bounce back from his recent loss where he would fight Joey Villasenor a month later.
In his Pride debut, the round starts with both fighters engaging but with Lawler being the more active fighter and on his toes. Villasenor is flat-footed and most of his attempted strikes seemed stiff. However, Lawler feints and sets a trap throwing a head kick that mildly catches Villasenor.
Villasenor shifts away and gets cornered. He goes to clinch but Lawler perfectly times the attempt and counters with a flying knee, knocking out Villasenor with referee Yuji Shimada stepping in to call the fight.
It always seems to be off a loss that Lawler makes a comeback to the win column, but in “Ruthless” fashion. His fight with Lindland came after a loss against Renato Sobral, so he was looking to not only secure a win, but make a statement.
The first round began with both Lindland and Lawler in a stand up exchange in the pocket. Although Lindland’s questionable striking style was not troubling “Ruthless”, it was clear that Lindland was getting caught during the in-pocket strike exchanges. At 40 seconds in, Lindland would stalk “Ruthless” but would get caught by a rear left hook. This stuns Lindland but he keeps pressing forward. He throws a cross where Lawler counters with a clean combination consisting of a lead uppercut, cross, and an over the top hook. Lindland is floored whereupon Robbie follows up with a strike to seal the deal and end the bout.
After losing his Strikeforce debut, Robbie was set against the MMA Dutchman, Melvin Manhoef, where he would astoundingly clutch the win early on in the first round.
The bout started off with Manhoef being the notable aggressor, holding the centre and stalking Lawler whilst keeping his distance. Technically speaking, Manhoef was performing brilliantly and Lawler was unable to respond to his dynamic leg kicks and punches.
Manhoef chopped away at Lawler’s body, utilising well-timed inside leg kicks which effectively slowed down “Ruthless”. The leg kicks piled up as Lawler was stunned by a right hook to the temple. Dazed, he began retreating, whereas Manhoef got excited and went in for the finish. After going in for another leg kick, he sets up an uppercut but within that split second, Lawler throws a Hail Mary over hand right bang on Manhoef’s chin. He crumbles to the floor whilst Robbie follows up with a massive hammer fist, knocking his opponent out cold.
Subsequently, Lawler’s unsuccessful title bout against Johny Hendricks would mean getting back on track, thus winning against one of the top contenders at the time.
The first two rounds begin similarly with Robbie and Jake feeling each other out but with Lawler being the obvious aggressor. Robbie walks Jake down and throws body and head kicks to keep him at bay. During the moments when Ellenberger is up against the cage, Lawler unloads powerful combinations where even the slightest hit appears to cause damage.
In the third round, the same plan is executed by Robbie and Jake slowly begins to fade away from the damage incurred. A right-hand strike from Ellenberger stuns “Ruthless” but also injures his hand. Robbie notices this and goes in with combinations. With two minutes left, Lawler fakes a left cross but instead goes in with a knee and a punch which brings Jake to the canvas. He covers up but cannot defend against Robbie’s onslaught. Referee Herb Dean steps in, declaring the fight’s end.
One of the Best Welterweight Fights – Ever
A bloody battle between two of the best welterweight contenders at the time. Lawler and MacDonald would have this bout etched in MMA history as one of the best welterweight fights ever to take place!
Rory’s Broken Nose…
The first two rounds started off with the fighters feeling each other out but executing combinations when necessary. Both traded strikes and each fighter received their fair share of punishment. Rory would be caught with Lawler’s jabs and a cross that would break his nose in the second round. However, Rory kept very methodical with his striking and catching “Ruthless” with impeccable strikes whenever he saw an opening in between his shots.
The third round was in favor of Lawler as Rory was hurt and bloodied up from cuts above his brow and around his nose. However, momentum swung towards MacDonald as he caught Lawler with a head kick, rocking Robbie. Rory puts on the pressure, trying to finish Lawler with knees, punches, kicks, elbows, hooks, and uppercuts. Lawler responds on instinct and half-heartedly throws leg kicks and punches as counters. The round ends and Robbie survives the flurry with a smile on his face, but clearly still stunned.
Both Men Hurt: Running on Raw Survival Instinct
Round four begins with Rory putting on the pressure, walking Lawler down against the cage and utilizing hook and elbow combinations in an attempt to damage Robbie. “Ruthless” by now evidently slows down as his speed begins to deteriorate. Rory begins to pick Lawler apart from a distance, although he’s also being chipped at by Lawler’s jab as his nose receives more damage over time. Even though Lawler was hurt, he endures the pain and ends the round with a bloodied predatory stare down with MacDonald.
A “Ruthless” Straight Left Hits the Target
Both men go into the last round exhausted but both are determined to win. A fair exchange of strikes is traded in the first 30 seconds. Both land respective hits but both are fatigued so the damage is minimal. However, a “Ruthless” straight left gets through, landing right onto the Rory’s severely damaged nose. Rory grabs his nose and falls to the canvas. Lawler comes down with a flurry of punches as referee John McCarthy intervenes to call the fight.
This was a phenomenal match which showed the courage, heart, and dogged perseverance by “Ruthless” where he rightfully won along with being awarded $50,000 and Fight of the Night honors.