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Robbie Lawler on Daniel Cormier's UFC 200 performance: 'He did what he had to do'

Esther Lin photo

LOS ANGELES -- The crowd at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night made it very clear they weren't fans of Daniel Cormier's performance in his victory against Anderson Silva. They frequently heckled the fight, at one point chanting for referee John McCarthy to stand the fighters up.

But at least one person in the audience at UFC 200 respected where the UFC light heavyweight champion was coming from. Robbie Lawler, the UFC welterweight champion, believes that Cormier did the smart thing in a tough situation in order to secure the victory.

"Daniel did what he needed to do," said Lawler, who was in Southern California on Tuesday promoting his UFC 201 title defense against Tyron Woodley.

Cormier was fighting, on 48-hours notice, against a replacement opponent who may be getting up there in age, but still possesses lethal striking skills. Rather than give Silva his one realistic path at victory for the sake of the crowd's entertainment, Cormier, who had trained to fight Jon Jones, used his wrestling to neutralize the former middleweight champion.

"It wasn't a crowd favorite-type fight, but Anderson Silva is a crafty individual," Lawler said. "You talk about a guy who studied martial arts for the longest time, he's a standup fighter who even at his age is very crafty, still has one-punch power, one-kick power. He did what he had to do to get the victory."

Lawler says he understands why the fans might not have been thrilled with the way Cormier fought. But at the end of the day, the fans aren't the ones who could potentially get knocked out by Silva.

"The fans wanted to see something different," Lawler said. "They're not the ones going in there getting punched and kicked. I can see why they weren't very excited about it. But Daniel needs to put food on his family's table as long as possible and he got the victory."

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