Robbie Lawler's desire to fight Georges St-Pierre might not have anything to do with money or welcoming the mixed martial arts legend back to the #Octagon, but it may sure have something to do with revenge.
In a very out-of-character interview with ESPN, the usually calm Lawler fired back at #GSP for comments made on The MMA Hour, in which the former Canadian champion declared free agency, causing much debate surrounding his current contract status.
Lawler told ESPN that St-Pierre is making excuses, and says he's more than ready to fight the Canadian.
"He says he was offered a fight against me but I wasn't healthy or whatever,” Lawler said. “He's basically trying to read between the lines like other people, not knowing what's the matter with me. Nothing is the matter with me.
“Do you accept the fight or not? That's the real question, right? Because I'm ready to fight right now. Did you accept it or not? I'm guessing you didn't. Don't try to hide behind, 'I'm not healthy.' That's not the facts.
"I'm always ready to fight that guy. I've been training my whole life to fight a guy like him -- and him, in particular. So don't use my name or try to hide behind something you think might be happening but is not. If he doesn't want the fight, shut up."
Lawler, who usually stays away from callouts and trash talk with other fighters, seemed to have a "particular" interest in fighting St-Pierre. This could very well be to avenge the loss of his long-time mentor Matt Hughes.
Lawler started his career training at the legendary Miletich Fighting System gym in Bettendorf, Iowa, under the tutelage of former UFC welterweight champions Pat Miletich and Matt Hughes.
Miletich seized UFC welterweight gold in 1998 at UFC 17.5. He defended his belt four times over two-plus years before losing it in shocking fashion to Carlos Newton at UFC 31. That's where teammate Hughes came in.
"Matt, if you don't take the fight, they're going to give it somebody else that's not on our team. We need that belt back in our gym," Hughes recalls Miletich telling him to fight Newton in a Pioneers of MMA segment on UFC Fight Pass.
Hughes went on to challenge Newton for the title, and won the fight, bringing the belt back to the MFS Team.
Hughes went on to become one of the most dominant champions in the UFC, defending his belt several times over the span of five years. The MFS welterweight reign came to an end when St-Pierre knocked Hughes out at UFC 65, taking the belt in 2006. Just a year later, in 2007, Hughes would attempt to bring the title back to the team once again in a rematch with St-Pierre, but failed.
St-Pierre went on to rule the division for over seven years before stepping away from MMA competition and vacating the welterweight title in 2013.
That's when Lawler stepped up to fight Johnny Hendricks for the vacant 170-pound title. He lost the fight in a close decision, but came back that same year to defeat Hendricks, bringing back the title, symbolically, to the now defunct Miletich Fighting System.
Lawler defended his title twice, and leading up to his last title defense against Tyron Woodley earlier this year, when asked about a squash match with St-Pierre on behalf of Hughes, Lawler was unable to deny interest.
"Ruthless" lost his welterweight title to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 this past July. Despite not being the champion, Lawler's fire to avenge Hughes' loss seems to be something real today.