Although it may seem like ancient history now, it wasn’t that long ago when most people had written Robbie Lawler off as a champion caliber fighter. Prior to his return to the UFC in 2013, Lawler had gone 1-3 in his previous 4 fights. Sure, Lawler remained a feared opponent, and a fan favorite, but no one was predicting that “Ruthless” was about to embark on a title run.

Of course, here we are a couple of years later, and Lawler is set to defend the welterweight title versus Rory MacDonald on July 11th. The 33 year-old Lawler will do so having gone 6-1 since he returned to the UFC.

Recently the champ spoke to MMA about his resurgence, and here is some of what he had to say:

“It just comes down to everyone is different, but take care of your body,” said Lawler. “Be smart out there. You can’t just go hard every day. You have to let your body rest and listen to your coaches. Hopefully you have good coaches around you, good people around you. Just work hard. Learn as much as possible, and grind away.”

Lawler has relayed this before, as several years ago, the heavy handed fighter took an extended break from hard sparring after dealing with the effects of a concussion. The champion also credited his teammates and coaches for helping him evolve into the world class fighter he is today.

It will be interesting to see how things unfold at UFC 189, and whether Lawler can record his first title defense. Lawler and MacDonald fought before in November, 2013, and “Ruthless” won the bout via split decision.