When you hold the UFC title, everybody is coming for you.
That includes your very own teammates.
Robbie Lawler, the current UFC welterweight champion, knows that his next title defense just might be that, as Tyron Woodley is regarded as the No. 1 contender to the belt.
“I’ll just be professional,” said Lawler, during a recent appearance on UFC Tonight. “I’ll hide out in a room where no one can watch. I won’t have the same training partners that he has. I’ll have some who mimic what he does, but he’ll have guys who do what I do.”
Lawler and Woodley both train under the American Top Team banner in Florida. Following a 2014 decision loss to Rory MacDonald, Woodley (15-3) has rebounded with back-to-back victories vs. Dong Hyun Kim and Kelvin Gastelum to give him a 5-2 record over his last seven.
For Lawler (27-10), it has been a career resurgence since returning to the UFC. After defeating MacDonald in 2013, he lost to Johny Hendricks for the vacant title. “Ruthless,” though, quickly got back into it, winning fights over Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown to earn another shot at Hendricks.
He did not disappoint, defeating Hendricks and defending his belt vs. MacDonald with a fifth-round stoppage and Carlos Condit via decision in January. His last four fights, and five of his last six, have reached at least the fifth round.
“I just get back to work, ease back to my training,” he said on returning from five round battles. “I’m always working on new things. I don’t look in the past; I look at how I can get better.”