Robbie Lawler didn’t stay long at the #10 spot he earned in the welterweight rankings after he took it from Josh Koscheck in his first fight back in the UFC in nine years at UFC 157 in February. Five months later he finished Bobby Voelker at UFC on FOX 8. Though Voelker wasn’t ranked, he is more than game for anyone in the division.
Last night at UFC 167, Lawler picked apart Rory Macdonald over three rounds. It was still very competitive, but Lawler was clearly ahead on points after he pulled away with a couple solid combinations in the third that left Macdonald stumbling backwards in disarray. This is a man in Macdonald who was ranked higher at third in the world, than Lawler had ever been ranked before.
This makes things very interesting at welterweight. Not to mention GSP won a controversial split decision over Johny Hendricks in the main event that also will cause a stir.
With both men on the list above Macdonald having lost to the champ in GSP, and Macdonald having beaten Jake Ellenberger ranked right below him, these factors will easily catapult Lawler right in to the third spot on the list.
CHAMPION: GEORGES ST-PIERRE
1 Johny Hendricks
2 Carlos Condit
3 Rory MacDonald
4 Jake Ellenberger
5 Demian Maia
6 Martin Kampmann
7 Jake Shields
8 Matt Brown
9 Nick Diaz
10 Robbie Lawler
That’s impressive. It’s also difficult to put anyone else inline for a shot at the title. Of course Hendricks deserves an immediate rematch against the champ.
If GSP retires, which I believe is more than a strong possibility; it will leave the UFC with no other choice than creating a new belt through pitting two of the top guys against each other. That’s Johny Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler at this point.
Just like in the middleweights with Vitor Belfort coming back from the ashes of the past to wreak havoc on the best in the world, Lawler seems to be here to stay as well.
Macdonald on the other hand just lost a decision and he didn’t look horrible in the process. I would probably still bet money on him if he rematched against Robbie Lawler anytime soon.
In fact, it seems like GSP may have been expecting to pass the torch on to Rory by retiring and allowing his protégé a shot at the vacant title last night when he stumbled over a portion of his post-fight speech and left Joe Rogan wondering if he had wanted to say more.
Macdonald looked overly tentative last night, but he didn’t appear completely out classed. Things may be hitting a weird note at 170 but the tune is still familiar. There’s a strong list of contenders who will be waiting for GSP to defend his title, or let the best in the world duel for the honor to hold it.