The rescheduled bout between former UFC welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler and “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone at UFC 214 was an exciting affair that went down as a decision win for Lawler despite some who believed the decision should’ve gone the other way. Lawler’s performance could’ve been affected by the misfortune of his good friend and MMA legend, Matt Hughes was in a coma after a crashing his vehicle into a train in June. Either way a win is a win and according to the UFC president himself, it appears that Lawler will get the opportunity to win back the welterweight title from the man who took it from him last June.
Leading up to Lawler’s return, there were an abundance of questions revolving his extensive break from the octagon as well as his split from American Top Team in January, months removed from his title loss. Lawler, ever reserved dodged the questions and instead opted to let his performance do the talking. If you were expecting Lawler to reveal some of the many questions surrounding his next move then you’d be let down as he opted to dedicate the win to Hughes followed by telling the media that Dana White will decide on his next opponent.
Lawler’s former teammate and ATT stand out, Dustin Poirer told BJPenn.com that Lawler’s departure was due to a miscommunication and Jorge Masvidal told Ariel Helwani more of the same, but there is likely more to the story involving the ATT coaches who were placed in a difficult situation when two of their best products had to throw down at UFC 201. Dana White usually never likes to match make following a fight, but he was pretty quick in choosing Lawler as the next contender for Woodley’s title while sitting on just a one fight win streak.
It’s no secret that White is a fan of the man nicknamed, “Ruthless,” who isn’t one to make any excuses regarding losses, but seeing how mum Lawler has been in discussions regarding the title picture, there is likely an angle the UFC is trying to use here. White never once stated that the winner between Cerrone would be next in line for a title shot and Lawler’s performance didn’t exactly blow the roof off the place. It’s also worth noting that Woodley told Ariel Helwani that he will undergo surgery on his labrum, which he tore early in his bout against Maia. That means the UFC could go forth with their plans of making Lawler the next challenger and include both men as coaches for a The Ultimate Fighter season. Just kidding of course.
Seeing as Woodley is expected to be on the shelf for the foreseeable future, the opportunity for another title contender to arise in his absence is possible. Jorge Masvidal, Stephen Thompson, heck even Rafael dos Anjos could make a splash with a win in their next outing.
The division is currently in disarray regarding the next contender, but Lawler is likely the chosen one because of his style of fighting, the problem is that the last time he stepped in there against Woodley he was brutally finished. With Woodley’s threat to spill the beans on the UFC unless he receives a public apology from Dana White, he is managing to keep things interesting when his division has lost some steam. He deserves some credit there. White told TMZ that he spoke to Woodley since and that Woodley explained that he didn’t mean what he said on the MMA Hour. We’ll believe it when we hear it directly from the horse’s mouth, I suppose.