Was Robbie Lawler a UFC Champion?

Published 09/21/2021, 6:16 AM EDT
NEWARK, NJ – AUGUST 03: Robbie Lawler prepares to enter the Octagon prior to his welterweight bout against Colby Covington during the UFC Fight Night event at the Prudential Center on August 3, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Robbie ‘Ruthless’ Lawler is considered one of the finest fighters the sport of MMA has seen to date. The UFC veteran has been fighting professionally since 2001 and currently has a remarkable 44-match record (28-15-0, 1 NC) to his name.

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He is well-known for his aggressive fighting style and lightning-quick reactions, which helped him dominate every opponent he faced in the cage during his prime. Other than the UFC, the seasoned fighter has taken part in Elite XC, Strikeforce, and PRIDE, among other MMA platforms around the world. He won a title at the Elite XC promotion, and yes, Robbie Lawler was a UFC champion.

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Robbie Lawler won the UFC championship at UFC 181

The fight between Lawler and Hendricks at UFC 181 is deemed to be one of the most controversial fights to date. Robbie Lawler faced off against former welterweight champion Johny ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks, at UFC 181 in Vegas, for the welterweight title. This was the second time the duo stepped into the octagon together, the first being at UFC 171, where the ‘Bigg Rigg’ took the win.

Lawler won the fight via split decision. Sal D’Amato scored the fight 48-47 in favor of Hendricks. Lawler, in his opinion, won Rounds 1 and 5. Marcos Rosales awarded Lawler the fight on a 48-47 scorecard, with ‘Ruthless’ winning Rounds 1, 4, and 5.

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Glenn Trowbridge’s card was the most one-sided of the night, with a 49-46 score that saw Lawler win every round apart from Round 3. Hence, ‘Ruthless’ snatched the title from Bigg Rigg by razor-thin margins that night, lifting the championship belt for the first time in his career.

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Lawler’s career after his first UFC title win

‘Ruthless’ became the UFC champion in December 2014 and then defended his title twice. While defending his title against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189 and Carlos Condit at UFC 195, Robbie Lawler put on two outstanding performances.

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LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 11: Robbie Lawler reacts to his victory over Rory MacDonald in their UFC welterweight title fight during the UFC 189 event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Robbie eventually lost his championship at UFC 201 in July 2016 against Tyron Woodley, courtesy of a first-round knockout.

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Pranit Punjabi

82 articles

Pranit Punjabi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. A third-year psychology major, this Khabib Nurmagomedov fan merged his interest in psychology with his deep passion for MMA and was intrigued by this new angle to help him get closer to the action. Pranit aims to look through the violence and chaos, into what makes MMA truly beautiful, the deep and rich psychological aspect to the game.

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