Biography and Profile of MMA Fighter Robbie Lawler

Robbie Lawler (L) battles Eduardo Pamplona during the Superfight at the International Fight League event
Robbie Lawler (L) battles Eduardo Pamplona during the Superfight at the International Fight League event. Chris Trotman/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

At Strikeforce: Miami on Jan. 30, 2010, two of the great MMA knockout artists of all-time went at it. Yep, coming in it was the kind of fight that had hardcore fans stoked- Robbie Lawler vs. Melvin Manhoef. But initially, it didn’t look like much of a contest. Manhoef showed his high-level kickboxing skills in the first round, seemingly landing punches and absolutely riveting low kicks at will. In fact, it was beginning to look like Lawler would be stopped from the Dutch fighter’s low kicks, which were literally lifting his legs off the ground and causing him movement problems. But then what defines Lawler as a fighter happened once again.

Lawler came out of nowhere with a huge overhand right. And as soon as Manhoef hit the ground, he nailed him with another left for good measure. And that was that.

Robbie Lawler is one of the hardest-hitting MMA fighters of all-time. Here is his story.

Date of Birth

Robbie Lawler was born on March 20, 1982, in San Diego, California.

Nickname, Fighting Organization, Training Camp, and Weight Class

Robbie Lawler currently fights in the UFC's welterweight division. He primarily trains out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. His nickname is “Ruthless”.

Sports and Martial Arts Background

When Lawler was 10 years of age, he moved to Bettendorf, Iowa to live with his father. As he said it to Octagon Buzz- “My parents were divorced and my dad was in the Marines. I lived in California until I was 10 then we moved to Bettendorf, Iowa when I was in the fourth grade. I had an older brother so it made it a little easier to adjust to things. I lived in Iowa for pretty much the rest of my life….”

While in Iowa, it has been reported that Lawler began karate at age nine. But from the aforementioned interview, it appears that he actually started Taekwondo, not karate. Due to his older brother’s influence and friends, he ended up playing basketball, baseball, and football against older kids for much of his youth.

“So I learned pretty quickly to not be intimidated and to not back down. You don’t really realize the effect those things have on you when you’re growing up but then when you look back you can see how they molded you.”

Lawler started wrestling in the 7th grade. While attending Bettendorf High School, he achieved All-State status in both wrestling and football.

MMA Beginnings

In and around his 6th grade school year, Lawler came across some DVDs of the UFC and became a fan of the sport. When Lawler was 16 years of age, he met Pat Miletich, owner and head trainer of Miletich Fighting Systems out of Bettendorf, who used to bring some of his fighters to Lawler’s high school wrestling practices. Lawler began training seriously with Miletich after graduating high school.

On April 7, 2001, Lawler fought in his first professional MMA bout after a lot of smokers and unofficial boxing matches. He defeated John Reed by first-round TKO at Extreme Challenge 39. Lawler would go on to win his first four matches by (T)KO when the UFC came calling.

Lawler and the UFC

Lawler debuted for the UFC on May 10, 2002, defeating Aaron Riley by decision at UFC 37. He went 4-3 during his first stint in the promotion before losing two straight to Nick Diaz and Evan Tanner. The Diaz loss was a big KO upset and really introduced the world to the fighter from Stockton.

Lawler then returned to the UFC on Feb. 23, 2013, defeating Josh Koscheck by first round KO.

EliteXC Middleweight Champion

Sandwiched between his UFC appearances, Lawler fought for multiple promotions in varied weight classes. Some of the bigger ones were PRIDE, Strikeforce, and EliteXC. During his time with EliteXC, he won the middleweight championship belt by defeating Murilo Rua and then defended the strap against Scott Smith before EliteXC folded.

Fighting Style

Lawler’s fighting style is simple. He attempts to stay on his feet. And while there he wants to knock you out with some of the most powerful punches in the game today. If Lawler is on his back, it’s usually bad news.

He’s a good technical striker with amazing power- plain and simple.

Some of Robbie Lawler's Greatest MMA Victories

  • Lawler defeats Rory MacDonald by split decision at UFC 167: Lawler landed some big-time strikes on his adversary in round three, leading to an upset of Georges St. Pierre's protégé. With the win, Lawler was eventually awarded a shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship belt against Johny Hendricks after St. Pierre vacated his title.
  • Lawler defeats Josh Koscheck by first-round KO at UFC 157: The bottom line is that anytime you are able to knock a UFC staple out like Koscheck, it serves notice to the rest of the organization’s fighters that you mean business. Huge win for “Ruthless”.
  • Lawler defeats Melvin Manhoef by first-round KO at Strikeforce: Miami: Two of the greatest MMA knockout artists of all-time went at it in Miami. After getting beaten up pretty badly, Lawler knocked Manhoef out with an overhand right in one for the ages.
  • Lawler defeats Murilo Rua by 3rd round KO at EliteXC: Uprising: With the win, Lawler won a legitimate world championship belt, which is nothing to scoff at.