Robbie Lawler Isn’t Afraid of Rafael dos Anjos’ Ground Game

Robbie Lawler has faced plenty of good grapplers before so he's not scared of what Rafael dos Anjos brings to their fight

Robbie Lawler is an old school fighter.

Now that statement isn’t meant to somehow declare that Lawler is past his prime but rather serve as a reminder that his career started in an era where mixed martial artists were still figuring out how to master every possible way to win a fight.

Lawler’s career started back in 2001 — the same year the UFC sold to owners including Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta — and that was an age where fighters definitely weren’t one dimensional any longer like the earliest inceptions of MMA but it also wasn’t nearly as advanced as where the sport exists today.

Thankfully, Lawler evolved alongside the sport, which has helped give him the longevity where he’s had a successful career for nearly two decades and he’s not just relevant in 2017 — he’s potentially one win away from another shot at the UFC welterweight title.

Now one look at Lawler’s resume will tell you that he’s best known for his prolific knockout power but that doesn’t tell the entire story about the skill set he’s amassed over the past 16 years. That’s why Lawler doesn’t blink when faced with the prospect of going to the ground with a high-level submission specialist like Rafael dos Anjos when they meet in the main event at UFC on FOX 26 on Saturday night.

“I feel good,” Lawler said when asked how his grappling skills match up to dos Anjos. “I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve grappled with some really good guys and competed with some really strong guys on the ground. I feel like I’ll be all right.”

Of course, Lawler’s prowess on the mat will more than likely be defensive considering the next statistic he revealed when talking about a potential ground battle with dos Anjos.

“I just heard a funny stat today, I have not attempted a submission in the UFC,” Lawler said with a laugh.

All jokes aside, Lawler is confident wherever this fight goes but obviously he always loves a good stand up war if dos Anjos is a willing participant.

And while Lawler may look like a brawler when he’s stalking an opponent around the Octagon looking for the knockout shot, he promises there’s far more at work with everything he’s doing inside the cage.

Not everyone notices it, but Lawler promises there’s always a method to his madness.

“There’s a lot of little things that people don’t see and realize that I’m doing,” Lawler said. “I’ve been around the sport for a long time and I have my little tricks and a little bit of savvy. There’s definitely stuff that I’m doing that not everyone sees.

“There’s a lot more going on than just punching and kicking and brawling in my style.”

Lawler has never been big on predictions but he’s more than ready to put on a show against dos Anjos on Saturday night.

“There’s a lot of different aspects I just can’t wait to show,” Lawler said. “Let everything hang out and shine. There’s a lot of skills that I can show. Obviously, I’ve shown heart and grit and determination but there’s also a lot of technique and sharpness that I wanna show.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.