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Interview with UFC Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler - "GSP doesn't want to fight me"

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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686   //    30 Dec 2015, 19:17 IST
Lawler was involved in a war against Rory MacDonald this past July

On January 2nd, two of the most exciting fighters will enter the Octagon with the UFC welterweight title on the line. ‘The Ruthless’ one has been on a tear lately, and was involved in arguably the best fight of the year in July against Rory MacDonald.

The image of a battered and bloodied Robbie Lawler roaring after putting Rory away in the fifth round sums up Lawler’s recent attitude. The welterweight champion has worked hard to get so far, and he isn’t willing to let go of the title anytime soon.

His opponent is one of the hardest hitting fighters in the division, as Carlos Condit looks to finally win the title which has eluded him so far. Although Condit had won the interim UFC welterweight title in the past, the former WEC welterweight champion is focused on winning the strap this Saturday.

But before that can happen, my colleague Ratish and I had the opportunity to talk to the champ in an exclusive interview.

Firstly, you’re coming off a brutal fight against Rory MacDonald earlier this year, and face another tough challenge in Condit. Your last three fights went into championship rounds, with two going the distance. How do you see this fight playing out?

I just feel like I’m going to be the best I’ve ever been. I feel like I’m ready to go five 5 minute rounds hard. I’m ready to hit those championship rounds, but it’s one of those things where I’m sharp, so I don’t think I’m going to have to go the distance.

I feel like I should be able to get a stoppage within the five rounds, and hopefully early. I feel like my training camp has gone really well, and I’m still improving. And I think I’m going to showcase a lot of great things.

Condit is fairly unpredictable, and is one of the more creative fighters inside the Octagon. Did you study his tapes during the camp, or do you approach your fight based on your strong points rather than studying your opponents?

What I do is, I allow my coaches to break my opponent down, and put me in situations in training practice, and while holding pads and while we’re drilling, that I need to be aware of.

And they do a great job with it, so what I do is, I leave it to my coaches and show up and they show me what I need to work on. So it works out great for me.

Condit recently remarked about his intention not to stand in front of you. Condit himself is an exceptional striker, and is among the best in the division going to the ground and on his back. Would that change your game plan for Saturday?

No, the game plan is always the same, which is to get my hands on him, and punch him and kick him and do those kinds of things as much as possible.

But, I think as far as Carlos talking about not standing in front of me (is concerned), I think that has to do with him being very tactical, and he wouldn’t want to get into exchanges with me, and get into a grueling battle with me.

He wants to be more technical, and wants to move his feet a lot more than he normally does.

You’ve seen a drastic change in fortunes since you joined the American Top Team couple of years ago. Can you tell us if you’re doing anything differently since joining ATT? And what would you attribute your success to?

Yeah, what I think I’ve done was listen to my coaches a little bit more and let them take over my training camp. As soon as I moved down there and started training down there, I put my faith in my head coach, Kami Barzini, who told me what I needed to do and when I needed to do it, and put everything in place and just fight.

Follow the game plan and follow the techniques, and put my faith in him and the other coaches, and just work.

Tyron Woodley is the only other top ranked fighter in the division you haven’t faced yet. Given the fans’ interest in GSP coming back, is a fight with GSP something you’d be interested in, in the future?

Yes, if he’s willing to fight, I’m ready to do it. But I don’t think he wants to get in there with me. I think he’s done, and he’s moved on, and he doesn’t want to battle with me.

 

UFC 195 will be headlined by Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit for the UFC welterweight title, and the co – main event will see the veteran, Andrei Arlovski taking on fellow UFC heavyweight, Stipe Miocic in what is essentially a title eliminator. You can catch UFC 195 this Sunday at 7:30 AM IST, live and exclusively on Sony SIX and Sony SIX HD.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
MMA/UFC/professional wrestling fan. A Manchester United fan through and through. Might also be seen cheering on Nadal and Djoko.
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