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Old 07-18-2013, 03:20 AM
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Default Matt Hughes enthused with Robbie Lawler's resurgence

They were running buddies, a tag team, partners in crime. Wherever Matt Hughes went when he was king of the welterweight hill, Robbie Lawler tagged along. To this day, Hughes calls his campmate from the heyday of Miletich Fighting Systems his "brother."

These days Hughes, is a UFC Hall of Famer and has retired to a company front-office job. But Lawler, who meets Bobby Voelker at UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle on July 27, has transformed himself from the 'can't-miss prospect who did' into a veteran experiencing a career resurgence.

In his return to both welterweight and the UFC, Lawler knocked out Josh Koscheck in the first round of their UFC 157 fight. It was Lawler's first UFC victory in nine years.

At last week's UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas, Hughes told that his "little brother" has finally grown up.

"He never was an '85 pounder," Hughes said. "He just didn't want to cut the 7 1/2 pounds to make welterweight. And the fact is, he's getting mature now. He's seeing the bigger picture. He knows that doing the PR and stuff is not a big deal, and he's getting it done."

Hughes also pointed out that Lawler was thrust into the spotlight at an early age. He began his fighting career at 19 and had his first UFC match, a win over Aaron Riley at UFC 37, at 20, whereupon he was immediately declared the next big thing. That's a lot for someone just out of high school to handle.

"He was a young kid," Hughes said. "He was in his teens for his first fight in the UFC, or his first fight for sure. It was good for him to mature an to figure out that fighting is a pretty good gig, you just have to figure out the paperwork aspect of it."

Meanwhile, one small but tangible result of Hughes' office gig was subtle, but you may have noticed it at the UFC 162 post-fight press conference: Hughes made a common-sense point that got the UFC's new fighter dress code relaxed a bit.

Informed by an unnamed co-worker that fighters were expected to go to press conferences in a suit jacket, Hughes asked a simple question. "I ask, ‘well, what's Dana [White] wearing? You'll never have Dana out of a T-shirt. You know you're going to have a hard time getting these guys in a coat if he's sitting there wearing a T-shirt.' So they go, ‘Yeah, you might be right.' Then they change [the dress code] from a suit jacket to just nice clothes and covered feet, no flip flops."
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