Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler Prepares for UFC 189

The MMA star will defend his belt against Rory MacDonald on July 11 in Las Vegas.

UFC 189: Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler prepares for first title defense in Las Vegas

UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler fought hard to get to the top. And he's out to prove that he has serious staying power in the world of mixed martial arts. 

He fought four times in 2014, spending a total of 87 minutes in the Octagon. Two of those 2014 bouts were title fights, dropping his initial effort in a unanimous decision loss to rival Johny Hendricks. "Ruthless" ravaged Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown in the following months, setting up another tussle with "Bigg Rigg." At the end of another 25-minute title romp, the 33-year-old American Top Team athlete captured the crown he so desperately coveted. 

When Lawler, who fought at middleweight for eight years prior to his second UFC stint, was brought back into the fold, the heavy-hitter knew what he was up against.

"I was always a 170-pounder and when I came back to the UFC, I knew that I was going to move down to 170. I was always watching these guys," Lawler says. "It came down to my coaches getting me ready but I knew style-wise, moving down to 170, guys were quicker, which means their output is high so I have to have a high output to make sure I'm winning these fights."

Now, Lawler's sights are set on keeping the belt around his waist by making his first successful title defense against a familiar foe, Canadian Rory MacDonald. The pair previously met at UFC 167 in November 2013, with Lawler capturing a razor-close, split-decision win. 

"I'm excited about the work I'm about to put in," says Lawler. "My body and mind are ready to go. I can't wait for July 11."

Both men were recently seen on the UFC 189 World Tour promoting their July 11th bout in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. M&F caught up with the reigning champion during the middle of training camp to discuss his passion for sport, fitness, dieting and nutrition; plus much more.