by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Inevitably in life everyone comes to a crossroads. The choice is presented to them to go down one path or another, usually in completely opposing directions.

For “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler such a crossroad was presented to him heading into this past weekend’s PRIDE 32: The Real Deal in Las Vegas.

After having lost his last fight in convincing fashion to Jason “Mayhem” Miller just a little over a month earlier, it appeared that Lawler could be headed back into a crestfallen point in his career like he had fallen into previously after achieving great highs.

This is after all, the same fighter that had come into almost instant success and had placed upon him great expectations, perhaps too early in his career, only to incontestably falter and find himself on the outside looking in as other young stars rose to stardom in the recent rise of MMA popularity.

So if Robbie had exhausted his opportunities further with a bad showing in PRIDE, it might have been the proverbial nail in the coffin of a once promising career, doomed to forever languish outside the MMA topflight. But Lawler didn’t falter in the face of adversity.

Staring across the ring at highly-ranked Joey Villasenor, Robbie presented himself with quiet resolve, focused and undeterred, and never looked back.

After the two met in the middle of the ring Lawler surprised many onlookers opening with a high head kick, rather than his customary one-two punch combination. The kick, even though partially blocked, surprised Villasenor, triggering an opening, to which Robbie almost clairvoyantly anticipated and responded to with a jumping knee, sending Villasenor to the canvas.

A couple of punches later and it was over. In the span of just 22 seconds Robbie Lawler had silenced critics and met his crossroads head-on, refusing to go down a path he might have treaded in darker times.

Always one to show emotion after a fight, Robbie – on the verge of tears – claimed vindication and now an opportunity to continue to put previous missteps behind him and rather than live up to old expectations, forge new ones with a promotion that has given rebirth to other fighters at a crossroads.

What the future will hold for Lawler is uncertain, but for now he is back in a big way and looking forward to writing the next chapter in a career that may just yet only be beginning to show the brilliance it’s capable of achieving.