Robbie Lawler’s career has undergone a remarkable turn around since he returned to the UFC in 2013, and the success has also come after the welterweight reportedly started sparring once again.
Yes, that’s right, in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.com, Lawler revealed that he stopped sparring for approximately six years, after he experienced some dizziness following a shot he took while training in 2006. The issues apparently continued for some time.
“It wasn’t anything too hard,” Lawler relayed. “But when we went straight from sparring to grappling and I laid down on my back, the room started spinning.”
The punishing striker elected not to spar for the coming years, despite the fact he took some heat from some of his Miletich teammates. Lawler was quoted saying in the aforementioned story:
“Guys would make fun of me,” Lawler said. “ Tim Sylvia would be like, ‘Get in here and spar.’ I’d just tell him, ‘Nah, I’m good.’ I thought, you know, I know how to fight.”
So, if we do the math, Lawler started sparring again in 2012 or so, which is shortly before he returned to the UFC. The 32 year-old also moved on to train with the renowned American Top Team. Since his decision loss to Lorenz Larkin at a Strikeforce card in July, 2012, Lawler has gone 5-1 in the Octagon. His only loss, as you know, was via decision to champion Johny Hendricks in March.
Obviously, Lawler has been doing something right, and it’s also worth noting that his recent title shot run has coincided with his decision to drop back down from middleweight.
“Ruthless” also reportedly said that he carried the no sparring policy for too long, however, he acknowledged it may have added some time to his career. One thing’s for certain, more and more gyms are re-evaluating how much hard sparring their fighters engage in, as the sporting world learns more about head trauma.
Sparring aside, we’ll soon get to see whether Lawler has what it takes to avenge his loss to Hendricks and take the welterweight belt.
UFC 181 will be hosted by the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will also feature lightweight champ Anthony Pettis taking on Gilbert Melendez.