Often times it is difficult to determine a winner for awards like these. You have to consider the qualifications of several fighters and often there is a difference of opinion.  However, that was not the case for Comeback Fighter of the Year. Robbie Lawler won by a landslide.

“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler has been through his ups and downs through his years in MMA, but no one expected Lawler to put together the year he had in 2013. Lawler first debuted in the UFC when he was just 20 years old. He quickly strung together several wins and was considered the future of the UFC. However, we have all seen how fast things can change. After a huge upset loss to Nick Diaz followed by a loss to Evan Tanner, Lawler found him out of the UFC.

Outside the UFC, Lawler showed what the UFC saw in him. He went 8-1 with one no-contest over the next three years. He also won the EliteXC title and defended it on CBS. After EliteXC fell apart, Lawler moved to Strikeforce and saw his career go on a downslide. He went just 3-5 while losing to all the top-level talent he faced. It truly looked like Lawler’s career was coming to a close.

Naturally, when Lawler stepped back into the UFC against perennial top-10 fighter Josh Koscheck, it was assumed by most it was going to be a one-sided beat down. But Lawler had different ideas, as he left Koscheck looking at the lights in under four minutes.

In his next fight, Lawler faced Bobby Voelker in a fight he was favored in and he delivered another knockout victory. That win earned the veteran a match-up with a top-five opponent. At UFC 167, Lawler was matched with one of the UFC’s elite welterweights in Rory MacDonald. Again, Lawler was expected to lose, but again Lawler shocked the world. 

After struggling against the top of the Strikeforce roster, Lawler went 3-0 in his return to the UFC, ran through several top-ranked fighters along the way, and easily won the 2013 Comeback Fighter of the Year award. Not to mention, Lawler’s resurgence has earned him a shot at his dream of UFC gold in 2014.

Honorable Mention: Matt Brown, Mark Hunt
The MMA Corner’s 2013 Awards were selected by our staff of writers and photographers. Unless noted otherwise, the nominations were open to all fighters, promotions and events that took place during 2013.

About The Author

Richard Wilcoxon
Staff Writer

An East Coast native, Richard Wilcoxon grew up a die hard fan of traditional team sports. In the early 1990's, he stumbled onto the sport of MMA and has been hooked ever since. He started writing about the sport on his Sporting News member blog in 2005 where he worked to spread his passion for the sport. He eventually became an official staff writer for Sporting News' "The Rumble" MMA/boxing blog before joining The MMA Corner.