It could definitely be argued that the sport needs more personalities like Tom Lawlor. Never one to take himself too seriously, you may know “The Filthy Mauler” as “The Just Bleed Guy” due to Lawlor going old school during the UFC 100 weigh-ins leading up to his submission of the night guillotine choke of C.B. Dollaway. As likeable in person as he would appear to be during the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Lawlor brings a down to earth, “just another one of the guys” vibe that many fans have had little trouble identifying with.
Being a cool guy is one thing, but friendly and likeable doesn’t get you into the Octagon. Nevermind his playful nature; Tom Lawlor can fight. There’s no doubt about that.
Since his official arrival in the UFC, Tom has gone 2-0 with impressive victories over the likes of Kyle Kingsbury and C.B. Dollaway.
Aaron Simpson will be the fourth fighter with ties to Arizona State University and Arizona Combat Sports in a row that Lawlor has faced up to this point. It all started when he was knocked senseless at the hands of Ryan Bader during TUF 8. Then it was Kingsbury, a fellow ASU alumni, who Lawlor bested via unanimous decision. And most recently it was Dollaway, who the Jungle MMA trained fighter submitted with a lightning quick guillotine choke in the first round at UFC 100.
The two will face off during “UFC Fight Night: Maynard vs. Diaz“, which is slated for January 11 from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia, and will air live on Spike TV.
While Simpson has earned quite the reputation as a devastating knockout artist with all six of his victories coming by way of TKO or KO, it may surprise many to learn that Lawlor is actually looking forward to trading punches with the heavy handed wrestler.
Never at a loss for words, FiveOuncesofPain.com recently had the chance to catch up with Lawlor in the days lading up to his Fight Night showdown with Simpson to speak with the self described “slob” about a variety of topics including his match-up with the “A-Train”, letting Jake Shields take his back, the true origin of Seth Petruzelli’s nickname, Shinya Aoki, and much more.
Cory Brady for FiveOuncesofPain.com: Have you been spending most of your time training for this one down at Jungle MMA and Fitness with Seth [Petruzelli] and the rest of the guys, or have you been training elsewhere at all?
Tom Lawlor: The majority of the time I’m here in Orlando at Jungle MMA with Seth Petruzelli, Mike Lee, Clayton McKinney, and Dave Bagget. We have a lot of really good guys that fight around the 185-205 pound range. I’ve also been training down at FFA (Freestyle Fighting Academy) in Miami. I made it down there on a couple of separate occasions. I’ve been doing my strength and conditioning work at a place called Davis’ Training Systems in Orlando, Florida as well.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Alright, so you’ve been mixing it up a little bit then.
Tom Lawlor: Yeah, I’ve mixed up my training quite a bit since my last fight. People say if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, but I guess I don’t subscribe to that theory. I like to switch things up so I don’t get bored. I have to keep myself excited so that I can keep the fans excited.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: What’s up with the match-up between Seth and Ken Shamrock; Is that for real?
Tom Lawlor: As far as I know it’s for real. It seems like it’s going down, you know, as much as any other Ken Shamrock fight does. As far as I know, the contracts are signed. So straight from the horse’s mouth: Yeah, it’s happening.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: How do you see that fight going?
Tom Lawlor: Well, if it happens, the only chance I see Shamrock having is if he hits a reverse belly-to-belly suplex and locks on the ankle lock where Seth is to far away from the ropes to force the separation. But other than that, I see no reason why Seth isn’t going to knock him out. My prediction is Seth via first round KO with a lead hook, probably about two or three minutes into it. Seth doesn’t really like to train his cardio so he’s probably going to want to get it over and done with pretty quickly.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Okay, so you’re giving Shamrock the benefit of the doubt here then. You’re giving him two or three minutes?
Tom Lawlor: Yeah, I think that’s a conservative estimate.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Give me your thoughts on Aaron Simpson as a fighter, and just generally what he brings to the table in this bout?
Tom Lawlor: Aaron Simpson is a really explosive guy. He’s a little bit on the older side, but he’s still been able to maintain a ridiculous amount of speed, which is amazing to me. He’s one of the more dangerous guys at 185 pounds because not only is his wrestling phenomenal, but he has knockout power as well. So he’s not a boring lay and pray kind of guy like myself. It provides for a really interesting task ahead of me. This is the third guy from Arizona Combat Sports that I’ve fought, and the fourth guy in a row that wrestled at Arizona State University, so Arizona Combat Sports probably has me scouted pretty well. It’s kind of a fight against them as well.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Right, well I was going to ask you: Do you think this is a situation where Simpson requested this match-up due to your recent victory over his teammate, C.B. Dollaway? I also happen to be from Arizona myself and have hung out with all of the guys at Arizona Combat Sports in the past: I mean, what’s the deal with what seems like a feud between you and the entire state of Arizona?
Tom Lawlor: You know what, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a battle over who can claim to have more sunshine between Arizona and Florida… I don’t know what the deal is. Maybe they want to get back at me after the C.B. Dollaway fight, or it could just be the matchmaking on Joe Silva’s part. I’m not surprised buy the match-up, and it’s not like it’s a match-up that doesn’t make sense. Simpson’s coming off of a win over Ed Herman, and I’m coming off of a win over C.B. Dollaway, and both of those guys were in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter in the past, so it’s a logical match-up. Whether they’re trying to create a feud; I don’t really know. Whether he asked for the fight; I don’t think he asked for the fight. I don’t think Aaron came right out and said i want to fight him for revenge or anything like that. I’m cool with Bader and I’m cool with C.B., so I don’t think he has a grudge with me, I think it’s just a logical match-up.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Would you be willing to duke it out with Aaron if it comes down to it, or is exchanging something you want to avoid in this bout? I know you’re ground game is your strong point, but are you willing to stand and trade with Simpson if it comes down to it?
Tom Lawlor: Yeah, actually I would like to. I would like to eventually throw a punch in a fight standing up. It hasn’t worked too well in my favor up to this point, but eventually I’m going to be able to fire one off. I’m 1 for 1 in MMA fights where I’ve thrown a punch standing up and I knocked a guy out in ten seconds, and I’m 1 for 1 on reality shows punching people on the feet as well, when I knocked out Dave Kaplan. So I’m going to see if I can pull it off in a UFC fight this time.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Theoretical situation: Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields vs Tom Lawlor; How do you see that fight going?
Tom Lawlor: I’m a big Jake Shields fan actually. If he dry humped me like everyone said he did to “Mayhem” Miller, I’m such a big fan I might just have to give up my back and let him get on top of me.
Tom Lawlor: No homo…
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Oh yeah, for sure. No homo, dude (laughs). Now I know the real story behind how Seth got his nickname, “The Silverback”, but how did…
Tom Lawlor: Which one is it, because I’ve heard like five different stories from him, so…
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Well he’s told me a couple of different ones. Of course he told me that it was because of the “pasta-belly”; when he crawls around the mats in between grappling sessions with his knuckles and his oversized belly, he said it can make him appear like a big gorilla. But the one I tend to believe as the true origin of Seth’s nickname has to be the little known fact that the Silverback Gorilla has the smallest penis to body ratio in the entire animal kingdom. Now, that’s the one he told me, and that’s the one I’m sticking by.
Tom Lawlor: Yeah, that one sounds about right. Another one is that he fought a guy in Jacksonville that they called “The Silverback”, and he knocked him out and stole his nickname. I don’t really know which one to believe because I’ve heard all of them out of his mouth.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: And how did “The Filthy Mauler” come about? How did you end up with that nickname?
Tom Lawlor: One of my old training partners said I looked like “The Manassa Mauler”, Jack Dempsey. Apparently Jack Dempsey had a really big chin or something. Also, I’m kind of renowned for being a bit of a slob.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: So what was the inspiration behind the infamous and highly provocative gym pics of you and Seth Petruzelli?
Tom Lawlor: Oh yeah, the inspiration were the similar pictures of Shinya Aoki and Masakazu Imanari. I think Imanari was like a gym teacher and Aoki was dressed up in a little sailor schoolgirl uniform. I try to be really big on the Internet scene, mostly because of the fact that I’m socially inept and people usually don’t want to talk to me. Man, I really don’t have anything interesting to say. I’m much better at typing or writing it, so I realize that. I kind of stick to my guns on the Internet, and we were just kind of having a little bit of fun. We were bored on a Friday evening, which is actually kind of sad now that I think about it.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: I thought it was pretty hilarious to be quite honest. What’s your thoughts on the odd relationship between Aoki and Imanari?
Tom Lawlor: I don’t know if a guy like Aoki, who is just so mean, could be gay. He takes advantage of every opportunity he gets to go ahead and snap a bone, so I think it would be kind of dangerous putting him around a “boner”.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Man that’s just a scary thought that I don’t even want to consider in fear of the nightmares that would follow.
Tom Lawlor: He could mangle you, break your arm, and then give you the finger.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Oh man, that would be terrible. Alright Tom, on that note, that’s pretty much all I’ve got, I appreciate you taking this time with us. Is there anyone you would like to thank?