Georges St-Pierre, where are you?
Robbie Lawler needs a fight, against a guy who is going to, I don’t know, TAKE HIM DOWN AND EXPOSE HIS LACK OF GROUND GAME?
Lawler reminded us of three truths Saturday night at UFC 195. Lawler has a hard head. Lawler hits really heard. Close, controversial decisions usually fall Lawler’s way.
UFC 195 is in the books, but the band plays on. So what did we learn? Let’s take a look at some takeaways:
1. We need GSP vs. Lawler at UFC 200
I love Lawler as much as the next guy, but for all the talk about how MMA has evolved into a true sport of mixed martial arts, it feels somewhat odd to see Lawler as welterweight champion. We’ll talk about the judges’ decision later, but for now let’s talk Lawler. He hits really hard and is clearly a threat to knock anyone out. That’s why you can’t slug with him. You need to take him down and ground and pound him, wrestle him or Jiu-Jitsu him. Let’s think about something for a second: JAKE SHIELDS SUBMITTED LAWLER. While fantastic to watch, Lawler is not unbeatable. A guy like GSP could probably take him down and A) bore us with a 5-round unanimous decision victory or B) submit or TKO Lawler with a superior technique. It’s a fight we need to see happen.
2. Las Vegas Loves Lawler
Yes, I know, never leave it in the judges’ hands. That being said, that’s why we have judges. When lame-brain newbs can watch a fight and know that Carlos Condit won, but two Las Vegas judges can’t there’s a problem. Sure, give Lawler the edge in close rounds because he’s the champion. Give Lawler the edge because of his aggressive hard-hitting style. Give Lawler the edge because he’s an extremely exciting fighter to watch. I get all that. But at the end of the day, titles must be able to change hands on decisions, particularly when the challenger obviously wins three out of five rounds. There will always be bad decisions in MMA. It’s just the nature of the sport. Last night’s decision was more than a bad decision because it may have sent Condit into retirement. When you take a beating like Condit did, feel that you’ve won the fight, then lose it on the judges’s scorecard, it takes a tremendous emotional toll. I expect Condit will be back, but today he should be wearing UFC gold.
3. Robbie the Role Model
I am not convinced that Lawler is anywhere near the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but what he is, is an amazing comeback story. Many observers wrote him off in Strikeforce. He seemed to write himself off. Here he is now, however, as one of the UFC’s biggest draws. Whatever changes he made in his life and training are proof that anything is possible in MMA, sports or life. The guy fights with heart and he’s also blessed with heavy hands — a dangerous combination. Rory MacDonald, Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit were supposed to be the future of the welterweight division. Lawler saw it differently.
4. Stipe Miocic Did Us All a Favor
Give Andrei Arlovski credit for, like Lawler, relaunching his career. He’s not done yet, but unless Lawler is bottling and selling his magic potion, Arlovski doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near UFC heavyweight championship picture. But there’s hope in Stipe Miocic. The UFC heavyweight championship has been stuck in neutral ever since Cain Velasquez knocked out Brock Lesnar for the title way back at UFC 121. Velasquez was supposed to be the future of the MMA heavyweight division, but outside of nearly killing Junior dos Santos twice, Velasquez’s name seems to pop up most these days only as proof that Daniel Cormier can hang with Jon Jones because “I train with Cain every day.” Velasquez just doesn’t fight often enough to be dominate and UFC champion Fabricio Werdum feels like a transitional champion. The timing may be right for Miocic, who is hungry, angry and talented. He may be the future of the heavyweight division, at least until Jon Jones decides to move up in weight.
5. Carlos Condit is a ittle (c) champion
Condit should not retire. He’s the unofficial champion. This guy has lost to GSP, Hendricks and now Lawler, in a controversial decision. Condit fought a strategically smart fight Saturday night. He probably traded too many punches with Lawler in the final round, but it’s better to go out fighting, than coasting, just ask Oscar de la Hoya. Condit should be proud of what he did and use that fuel himself going forward. If he gets an immediate rematch, he should take the fight to the ground. He is a more well-rounded fighter than Lawler and MMA needs guys like him in the sport to show that it’s not just about who can hit the hardest. The wrong guy got the decision Saturday, but the right guy is the winner in the public’s eyes.
Follow Joshua Molina on Twitter: @JECMolina
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