UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler said he "wasn't too worried" about his previously rumored Conor McGregor fight and would have taken the featherweight's soul if they went head-to-head.
"His soul," Lawler said when asked what he would have taken in an exchange with Zach Klein of WSB-TV. "I'm a lot different than most people. He found a way out. And Diaz took his neck and was nice to him. I'm just telling it like it is and how I saw it."
Lawler made his comments as part of the promotional push for his fight with Tyron Woodley at UFC 201.
McGregor spoke openly about his desire to make a push for the welterweight championship prior to his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. Had McGregor stayed undefeated in UFC, the bout would have ranked among the most high-profile in the promotion's history.
"I like [Lawler]. I won't say a bad word about [Lawler]. He fights with his heart. He's been around the game so, so long but if we fought, I would beat [Lawler]. I'm too fast, the size difference is nothing. I've stood beside him. I've seen him," McGregor said in March, perDamon Martin of Fox Sports.
Lawler, 34, began his UFC career way back in 2002. He reached a nadir with a third loss in four matches at UFC 50, which caused him to bounce around to various other promotions before his return at UFC 157. In nine matches since, he's lost once and currently sits fourth on UFC's pound-for-pound rankings. McGregor is sixth on that list.
"I wasn't too worried about it. Obviously, that was a big fight. He's a big draw but it wouldn't have been good for him," Lawler told Klein.
McGregor and Diaz each moved up to welterweight for their UFC 196 bout. That required a two weight-class jump for McGregor and one for Diaz. The fight was stopped in the second round after Diaz earned a submission victory. Their anticipated rematch is slated for UFC 202 after being pulled from the UFC 200 card.
Lawler is fighting the third contender in Woodley, who he respects but seems ready to pick apart.
"We're both professional. We've been doing this a long time," Lawler told Klein. "It's part of the business, promoting fights. When the octagon door closes, a different business is gonna start. As soon as they say, 'let's get it on!' I'm ready to fight. I don't need to waste any energy. I'm just always ready to go so when they unleash me, it's time."
It's still possible we see Lawler-McGregor by the end of the year. If McGregor overcomes Diaz, perhaps he comes back for the welterweight belt in, say, December. If UFC wants to truly blow it out of the water, they could throw that bout on as a co-main event with Ronda Rousey's return and try to set pay-per-view records around the Christmas holiday.
Then again, that would be an awfully unfortunate time of the year to be stealing souls.
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