Lawler, the former UFC welterweight champion, suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in his knee midway through his headlining bout against dos Anjos, which he ultimately lost via unanimous decision. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani confirmed the news Thursday following a Yahoo! Sports interview with UFC president Dana White which saw White speak about Lawler’s injuries.
“The guy’s leg was destroyed,” White said of Lawler. “Okay? Blew his ACL and his meniscus and every other thing that’s in your knee out in like the third round. Wobbled over to the fence, laid against it, and asked dos Anjos to come in so that they could just bang it out. Robbie Lawler went to the fifth round.”
Lawler’s penchant for pushing through injury is nothing new. The 35-year-old former champion memorably fought on with a cleaved lip in his legendary title defense against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189, pushing through the grisly damage to knock out MacDonald in the fifth round of a fight Lawler was losing on the scorecards.
That being said, his latest knee injury will likely keep Lawler (28-12, 1 NC) sidelined for at least the first half of 2018.
“Ruthless” fought twice in 2017, returning to the fight game after taking a year-long break following his first-round knockout loss to Tyron Woodley in July 2016. Lawler first rebounded to defeat Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision at UFC 214, then suffered his setback against dos Anjos in December, losing a decision in a unanimous 50-45 sweep of the judges’ scorecards. He is currently the No. 4 ranked welterweight on the UFC’s media-generated rankings.