As Tyron Woodley watched Robbie Lawler do his best to lay waste to Carlos Condit at UFC 195, he wasn’t particularly surprised when the welterweight champion was unable to put his foe away.
Even though Lawler is one of the sport’s hardest hitters, he never was able to finish “The Natural Born Killer.” That’s pretty much par for the course: When Woodley faced Condit at UFC 171, he learned just how durable the Jackson-Wink MMA product could be.
“Carlos Condit is the only one that can take that kind of punch and keep ticking. I hit him, and I’ve never hit anybody in my life that hard,” Woodley said during an appearance on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “If I had hit anybody else that hard, they’d have been knocked out. I’d have been standing over them with my hands up. I can’t even put words behind it. I don’t want to have a chin like that. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m being punched around and someone’s like, ‘Tyron has the best chin.’”
It’s early, but Lawler-Condit will almost assuredly end up on the short list of “Fight of the Year” nominees when 2016 concludes. Lawler dropped his foe once in the second and had Condit on wobbly legs on a few occasions during a frantic fifth frame that saw “Ruthless” headhunting from the opening bell. Meanwhile, Condit appeared to have Lawler in danger in the fourth stanza while racking up a whopping 176-to-92 advantage in significant strikes over the course of the 25-minute affair.
Like most observers, Woodley was in awe of what went down inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas last weekend. However, “The Chosen One” also recognizes that it was the type of slugfest that could take years off a fighter’s career.
“Robbie needed another minute, man. Carlos Condit is tough, but statistics show over time when you take that damage, and you’ve been concussed that many times, it’s only a matter of time before that one shot sends you down,” said Woodley, who is the welterweight division’s current No. 1 contender. “To be honest, I really don’t want to see these dudes punch drunk and not be able to be with their grandkids and things of that nature. I’m actually glad that time ran out.”
While the heartbreaking split-decision defeat had Condit contemplating retirement in the aftermath, the bout marked another war in a string of brutal bouts for Lawler, who has taken — and given — his share of punishment in recent contests against Rory MacDonald, Johny Hendricks (twice) and Matt Brown.
“The last fight where he didn’t take a lot of damage was his fight with Jake Ellenberger. Every fight after that, he’s been in war after war after war,” Woodley said. “And I’m not knocking him: It’s his fight style. I love to watch him as a fan. But as far as longevity, brain damage, concussions, he’s putting himself in a position where it could be a rough 70s or 80s when he gets a little older.”