December 7, 2014
I have a dream.
To see a Filipino win a title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, mixed martial arts’ biggest stage.
A fighter with Filipino descent will do.
On this day, the dream has just become reality.
Robbie Lawler defeated Johny Hendricks with a split decision victory in UFC 181 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada to crown himself the new welterweight king. The 32-year-old San Diego, California native won it in two scorecards, 49-46 and 48-47, while Hendricks won it in just one, 48-47. Lawler thus avenged his heartbreaking split decision defeat to Hendricks on March 15 of this year for the vacant welterweight crown. A third fight could be imminent after a pair of closely fought and nerve-wracking fights. Or Lawler could just end up facing No. 1 contender Rory MacDonald. Whoever. The most important thing is the Filipino is one with Lawler in celebrating his recent triumph. A historic one if you’re going to ask me.
And I have several thoughts:
1. Brandon “The Truth” Vera, Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz and former Ultimate Fighter runner up Philip Nover must be smiling nowadays after a fellow Fil-Am finally made it to the top. Vera and Munoz came a win or two away from a title fight. Vera is now out of the UFC and fighting in a smaller fight organization while Munoz is hanging ion threads to stay in the UFC. So it must be sweet for them to see Lawler reach the pinnacle of success.
2. I wish and pray that Lawler stays long enough at the top for his success to trickle down here in our small country where I hope an MMA boom follows. Just like when the Azkals did that to football after their shock win over Vietnam in the Suzuki Cup years back.
3. I’m guessing the UFC will send Lawler here to the Philippines and allow the Filipino people to see the champion in person. And I’m sure they will after the UFC already sent a battery of champions to the Philippines before. Read: Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, BJ Penn and Georges St.-Pierre himself.
4. A long overdue UFC fightcard on our local soil should follow after years of failed attempts. If only Lawler himself could be our ambassador.
5. I hope Filipino fighters learn from Lawler, whose perseverance brought him from where he is today. In case you don’t know, Lawler brust into the UFC 12 years ago at a very young age of 20 years old. He got burned along the way and was bumped off the UFC slate years later. But thanks to his hardwork and resiliency, he made it back. Boom.
What are your thoughts?
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(Photo courtesy of mmaweekly.com)