Robbie Lawler is back and ready for action, and if that action comes in the shape of former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, sign him up.
For months, St-Pierre has declared his intention to return to MMA after an almost three-year hiatus, but after being unable to come to terms with the UFC, earlier this week, he declared himself a "free agent" no longer bound by UFC contract. According to St-Pierre, he had been in negotiations with the UFC since February but negotiations cooled and St-Pierre's attorney gave the UFC a deadline by which to give him a fight. Finally, St-Pierre says he was offered a fight with Robbie Lawler on the last day of the deadline, "very late at night" but that he knew Lawler had withdrawn from UFC 205 and was taking a break from fighting. Afterwards, St-Pierre's legal team determined that the former champion was now a free agent.
But Lawler says St-Pierre's assumption about his fight availability was way off base. Speaking with ESPN recently, Lawler says he would have been happy to accept a fight with St-Pierre.
"He says he was offered a fight against me but I wasn't healthy or whatever. He's basically trying to read between the lines like other people, not knowing what's the matter with me. Nothing is the matter with me. Do you accept the fight or not? That's the real question, right? Because I'm ready to fight right now. Did you accept it or not? I'm guessing you didn't. Don't try to hide behind, 'I'm not healthy.' That's not the facts."
Lawler has been out of action since losing his title to Tyron Woodley earlier this year via first round KO at UFC 201. He was briefly scheduled to face Donald Cerrone at UFC 205 on November 12 but ultimately decided to withdraw from the fight. Many speculated that this was due to suffering some lasting ill effects from his devastating KO loss, but Lawler says it was just a matter of decompressing.
"I think everyone just kind of assumes [health] is the issue, but that's not the facts. It's one of those things where I wanted to take a step back and realize what I wanted and why I wanted it. My whole life I've went out there and strived, and this time I needed to take a step back, relax and not rush it - make sure all the pieces were in the perfect place."
Those pieces now seem firmly in place for Lawler who says he has been training to stay in fight shape and is looking to return possibly before the end of the year.
"I'm always ready to go. I've been talking to Dana, figuring some stuff out. I'm making sure he knows that I'm training."
A potential St-Pierre-Lawler fight is something MMA fans have been envisioning for well over a decade, back when Lawler was the training partner of St-Pierre rival and then-champion Matt Hughes. Admittedly, the fight lost some of its luster during the years Lawler spent as a journeying middleweight, and St-Pierre was putting together arguably the greatest resume in the sport's history, but Lawler's resurgence and St-Pierre's long rumored return gave the fight new shine. Now it appears St-Pierre is in for a protracted contract dispute and barring a substantial change, it seems unlikely that the fight will happen, which Lawler says St-Pierre is happy about.
""I'm always ready to fight that guy. I've been training my whole life to fight a guy like him -- and him, in particular. So don't use my name or try to hide behind something you think might be happening but is not. If he doesn't want the fight, shut up...[Dana White] said it the whole time, 'GSP does not want to fight,' and he most definitely does not want to fight me, period."
Layoffs. We're talking about layoffs. The UFC began a round a layoffs, three months after the Zuffa sale.
Obviously. Georges St-Pierre says Dana White is a great promoter but "doesn't know what it is to be a fighter."
Forgotten. Daniel Cormier hopes UFC 206 doesn't get forgotten about in the wake of the St-Pierre drama.
Possible cause. Josh Samman's death officially listed as a result of a probable drug overdose.
Psychology. Eric Stinton talks a bit about the return of Ronda Rousey.
Holy hell. This reporter just outs Cormier's knee injury to Johnson while they're sitting there. His face is priceless.
Cormier interview w/ Fight Network.
KZ is back! But please no, don't have him fight BJ.
Cyborg is gonna keep going in until Ronda fights her or retires.
Khabib thinks RDA beats Tony.
If you're real bored and wanna watch some old crappy fights.
To paraphrase Jeff Wags, Dana White was wrong again, GSP does want to fight, it just appears this time he wants to fight a real challenge.
Greatest of all time inside @UFC— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) October 18, 2016
Good luck Champ, and thanks for the Motivation. My childhood UFC hero. pic.twitter.com/nFYB37x44m
Conor's shark tale-ing Nate up to this enormous dude instead of a career lightweight really worked on these rubes.
He's not making that weight again https://t.co/dDFVPLVftV— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) October 18, 2016
A lot of unhappy folks yesterday.
@heynottheface @jeremybotter @arielhelwani a lot of their 500 non employees are unhappy as well— Tom Lawlor (@FilthyTomLawlor) October 18, 2016
For many reasons.
Still waiting to see when I get to go to work! @MMAWorldSeries looks like I miss out on a workday now— Shawn Jordan (@savageshawn) October 18, 2016
Nov 12 card being cancelled is a huge disappointment.— Jon Fitch (@jonfitchdotnet) October 18, 2016
And so it begins.
@AlanJouban I'm gona fuck your pretty lil face up !— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) October 18, 2016
@PlatinumPerry you forgot to say no homo!— Alan Jouban (@AlanJouban) October 18, 2016
USADA...again...got me right off the elliptical. I didn't get my coffee and now I'm late for sparring... @UFCpic.twitter.com/D0YU0vV30x— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) October 18, 2016
Not a bad fight.
@LeslieSmith_GF 2 guys on my team r on Sac card! Would love to be on there w/ an exciting fighter like u...what do u say? Let's do it! #FOTN— Lauren Murphy (@LaurenMurphyMMA) October 18, 2016
know what's "a little stupid?!" @ThiagoAlvesATT https://t.co/hJEAEzVDoQ— Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) October 18, 2016
Classic little kid haircut.
12 Yr old Conor Mcgregor.— Lost In History (@HistoryToLearn) October 18, 2016
Born in 1988, began training in martial arts very young because he was the bullies targetpic.twitter.com/QsKdNDK4iy
This was funny as hell.
Aldo seems all smiles here. Maybe the UFC is backing up the truck of money for him.
Sage got hops.
Now if Conor had fought back in the day AJ, okay then he could act like he was fighting some mythical monster. Holy damn man.
You gotta scroll through but in the comments he accuses Cain of doping when Cain beat him.
Thomas Almeida (20-1-0) vs. Albert Morales (6-0-1); UFC Fight Night 100, November 19.
Urijah Faber (33-10-0) vs. Brad Pickett (25-12-0); UFC on Fox 22, December 17.
Scott Holtzman (9-1-0) vs. Josh Emmett (10-0-0); UFC on Fox 22, December 17.
Sultan Aliev (13-2-0) vs. Bojan Velickovic (14-3-1); UFC on Fox 22, December 17.
Matt Brown (20-15-0) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (16-5-0); UFC 207, December 30.
Johny Hendricks (17-5-0) vs. Neil Magny (18-5-0); UFC 207, December 30.
Alex Garcia (13-3-0) vs. Mike Pyle (27-12-1); UFC 207, December 30.
Brandon Thatch (11-4-0) vs. Sabah Homasi (11-6-0); UFC 207, December 30.
Tim Means (26-7-1) vs. Alex Oliveira (16-3-1, 1 NC); UFC 207, December 30.
Chael Sonnen (28-14-1) vs. Tito Ortiz (18-12-1); Bellator 170, January 21.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2013: Cain Velasquez beat the living daylights out of Junior dos Santos in their rubber match at UFC 166. The co-main event that evening was the final heavyweight fight for Daniel Cormier who won a decision over Roy Nelson.
If Aldo walks and GSP walks, Aldo vs. GSP at 155 lbs. I would pay all the money for that.
Be excellent to each other. And see you tomorrow.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.