UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler has refused to underestimate title challenger Carlos Condit ahead of their fight at UFC 195 in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Lawler’s iron will, unmatched pain tolerance, takedown defence, sturdy chin and raw power have made him one of the most devastating fighters and toughest prospects in the mixed martial arts world.
Since re-signing with the UFC, Lawler has racked up seven wins in eight fights since February 2013; winning the title from Johny Hendricks in December 2014 and defending it against Rory McDonald in June 2015.
Lawler suffered immense damage against McDonald, including a two centimeter cut clean through his top lip, but still went on to win via technical knockout (TKO) 60 seconds in the fifth and final round.
He has not allowed the victories to go to his head though, and is preparing for one of the toughest fights of his life against the equally destructive Condit.
"Carlos is a guy who will come in there in good shape and he's a guy who can do it all," Lawler told UFC Embedded.
"He trains at one of the best training camps in the world, so I expect him to have a great game plan. I expect a finely-tuned athlete who is always looking to finish his fights. I know he's looking to take my title."
Condit, who trains at the Jackson-Winklejon camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has suffered several setbacks since winning the interim welterweight title against Nick Diaz in February 2012.
He went on to lose to UFC legend and then welterweight champion Georges St Pierre in November of that year, and suffered another defeat to Johny Hendricks in a title eliminator match in March 2013.
Condit returned to winning ways with a TKO victory over Martin Kampmann in August 2013, but went on to lose to Tyron Woodley in March 2014 when he suffered a torn meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in a fairly innocuous incident early in the second round.
The “Natural Born Killer” returned to action with a two round demolition of Thiago Alves in May, and will now be looking to do the same to the Brazilian’s fellow American Top Team member Lawler.
However, Lawler, a veteran of at least 15 different promotions and 38 professional bouts, says he will not allow Condit to tarnish his legacy.
"I've been around a while. But, it's what I do and what I love to do. I always believed I would be a UFC champion. And I believe I will be successful in this defense as I was in my last," he said.
"I want my legacy to be of someone who was a tough fighter; someone who – even in losses – still believed in himself and came back fight after fight to prove he's a champion, and one who never made excuses."