Robbie Lawler takes high road on Colby Covington's claim about American Top Team departure

Unlike many of his welterweight counterparts, Robbie Lawler isn’t taking Colby Covington’s bait by engaging in a war of words.

Covington (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Lawler (28-13 MMA, 13-7 UFC) are scheduled to square off in the UFC on ESPN 5 headliner Aug. 3 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J..

While Covington proudly represents American Top Team, Lawler left the gym in 2016 following his UFC title reign. When Covington spoke to MMA Junkie last month, he accused Lawler of departing ATT because of a picture that was posted on the gym’s wall. The shot commemorated fellow member Tyron Woodley’s knockout win over Lawler at UFC 201.

“We had a good friendship,” Covington told MMA Junkie’s Steven Marrocco. “He helped me out with a lot of sponsors. But he turned his back on us, so it’s personal. I really do want to leave Robbie in a pool of his own blood. I’m pissed off what he did to Dan Lambert.”

In an interview with radio station HOT 97 earlier this week, “Ruthless” complimented his opponent but shrugged off comments Covington made accusing Lawler of turning his back on ATT.

“I think it’s just him talking,” Lawler said. “I don’t really pay much attention to what anyone’s saying. I know why I left, and that’s all that matters. Every decision I’ve ever made in my life, I’m better for it. It’s all learning experiences, and I’m just here to fight. I’m not here to talk about the past. I’m here to get better. I’m here to grow and continue to grow at life and in the sport.”

He later added, “I think (Covington’s) done a good job. He’s a hard-working guy. He’s got a lot of ability. I think he does a lot of good things, and he’s got a good camp behind him.”

Lawler, 37, last competed at UFC 235 in March where he lost in controversial fashion. After walloping Ben Asken with humongous shots in the opening minutes, Lawler found himself locked in a bulldog choke. While he didn’t appear to go unconscious, referee Herb Dean stepped in and stopped the bout.

Prior to the loss against Askren, Lawler dropped a unanimous decision to Rafael dos Anjos. Originally booked to headline UFC on ESPN 4 in Minneapolis in June, Lawler was removed from the card after Woodley pulled out weeks prior.

His opponent, Covington, hasn’t fought since UFC 225 in June 2018. The 31-year-old welterweight defeated dos Anjos in the co-main event, earning the interim UFC title. Months later, Covington was stripped.

For more on UFC on ESPN 5, check out the UFC schedule.

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