“I just kind of do what I want when I want to do it,” Lawler told MMAjunkie. “I knew when I came back to the UFC I was going to drop down to 170 and fight guys I’ve been watching for a long time.”
Some have given credit for his recent short surge – back-to-back knockout wins in the UFC over Koscheck and Bobby Voelker – to that drop to welterweight. But Lawler (21-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who on Saturday fights Rory MacDonald (15-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) on the pay-per-view main card of UFC 167 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, said people might be making a bigger deal of it than need be.
“I’m not too worried about (being at welterweight), nor do I really think about that,” he said. “I’m just training hard, training smart and with a really good team that’s pushing me getting me ready to go. I don’t really feel bigger – the guys I’m fighting are just smaller and not as heavy.”
That’s a pretty simple way to put it, but that’s Lawler in a nutshell – he’s a man of few words and would rather let his fists do the talking.
He also believes training at American Top Team is making a difference in his preparation, owing it to “just really good coaches, and the training partners are amazing.”
And not that he’s going to bash his time with Strikeforce, but being back in the world’s leading promotion has given him an uptick in the motivation column.
“I’m just excited to be fighting in the UFC, too – that definitely helps,” he said.
Against MacDonald, Lawler gets a stiff test – and an opponent that is being looked at as arguably the next top contender at welterweight and someone who might be tapped to fight Saturday’s main-event winner between champion Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks. An upset could prove to be huge for Lawler – and might even get him a title shot if the stars aligned in the right way in UFC 167′s aftermath.
After MacDonald’s jab-happy win over Jake Ellenberger, Lawler said the Canadian, who trains with St-Pierre, “was defensive and did what he needed to win.”
But that’s about as much trash talk as you’ll get from Lawler.
“I come to fight. I come to beat people up and have a good time out there and compete,” he said. “I don’t really like to talk too much about anything, and I don’t really like to talk trash about my opponents because they’re all really tough guys. They train hard, and they’re top-level guys. I respect them all.”
And because of that, he’s not really thinking much about whether a win would get him smack-dab into the title picture or not. It’s just not his style, instead preferring to get in and get out – much like his 18 knockout wins in 21 fights would indicate.
“I was just excited to be back fighting and whoever they put in front of me, I’m going to be ready,” Lawler said. “I don’t worry about who I’m fighting and what they’re ranked – I know everyone in the UFC is really tough, so I just have to be ready.”