In Robbie Lawler’s last four fights in the now-defunct Strikeforce organization, he went a disappointing 1-3. When the former Miletich brawler got the call to come over to the UFC after the promotion’s closure, many were surprised that “Ruthless” would be getting a second run in the Octagon.
Lawler was once a staple of the UFC welterweight division, having competed seven times from 2002-2004. The returning UFC slugger – who went up to middleweight, but is back at welterweight – recently shocked the MMA community when he knocked out Josh Koscheck at UFC 157 in February, his first fight for the promotion in nearly a decade.
With a win over Bobby Voelker at UFC on Fox 8 in July, fans were clamoring in anticipation of who the resurgent 31-year-old would be fighting next.
And now we have the answer.
It was announced Tuesday on UFC Tonight that Lawler would square off against the division’s perennial number one contender, and Georges St-Pierre protégé, Rory MacDonald on Nov. 16 at UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks in Las Vegas.
The 24-year-old Canadian has long been a fighter to watch in the 170-pound division. His only loss came at the hands of Carlos Condit at UFC 115 in a fight MacDonald was winning handily until the final minutes. Currently riding a six-fight win streak over some of the world’s stiffest competition, “Ares” is a fighter that most see as the heir-apparent to his sometimes-training partner, friend and divisional ruler “GSP.”
Most recently, MacDonald met slugger Jake Ellenberger at UFC on Fox 8 in an uninspiring performance that had the world debating whether he had earned a shot at welterweight gold.
The answer is: apparently not.
MacDonald now finds himself fighting on the undercard in support of his mentor against a heavy-handed veteran who is looking to establish himself as a viable threat once again.
If Lawler can get past the “new breed” prospect in MacDonald in front of the packed house at the MGM Grand Garden Arean in November, then he may be fighting for a UFC belt; something that four years ago, truly would have been unfathomable.
With a shot at St-Pierre looming for MacDonald – both teammates insist they will not fight each other – if he can put away Lawler in the fall, the MMA world will be teased with a fight that neither mentor or protégé may be able to refuse.
(Follow @RyanMcKinnell on Twitter)
© 2013 MMA Weekly All Rights Reserved.