Speculation tends to follow Robbie Lawler. He prefers it that way, truth be told.
But there are times when it makes sense for him to clarify certain things and, given recent developments, now is one of those times.
So, to be clear: Robbie Lawler says he's healthy and wants a fight in 2016. And if that fight is against Georges St-Pierre, he's all for it.
Lawler (27-11) lost the welterweight title in a first-round knockout loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201 in June. He initially agreed to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC 205 on Nov. 12, but withdrew for personal reasons.
Many speculated the cause of his withdrawal was residual physical effects from recent battles. Speaking to ESPN.com Tuesday, the 34-year-old said he's healthy and simply wanted a little more time between fights.
"I think everyone just kind of assumes [health] is the issue, but that's not the facts," Lawler said. "It's one of those things where I wanted to take a step back and realize what I wanted and why I wanted it. My whole life I've went out there and strived, and this time I needed to take a step back, relax and not rush it -- make sure all the pieces were in the perfect place."
Lawler's name was brought into the news cycle this week, however, when St-Pierre revealed during an interview on The MMA Hour that the UFC had recently expressed interest in booking him a fight against Lawler.
St-Pierre says he has been negotiating a comeback fight with the UFC since February and had set a recent deadline for the promotion to send him an official bout agreement. When the UFC sent a letter that mentioned Lawler as an opponent -- but no date, venue or round specifications -- St-Pierre viewed it as a breach of contract.
"He says he was offered a fight against me but I wasn't healthy or whatever. He's basically trying to read between the lines like other people, not knowing what's the matter with me. Nothing is the matter with me. Do you accept the fight or not? That's the real question, right? Because I'm ready to fight right now." Robbie Lawler on comments made by Georges St-Pierre
"The last day of the deadline, very late at night believe it or not, we received a letter ... [asking] if I was interested in fighting Robbie Lawler sometime," St-Pierre said. "I knew Robbie Lawler had pulled out of the New York card. I don't know the reason he pulled out, but I heard in an interview with [Lawler's teammate] he needed a long break. So, the next day, my lawyer told me, 'Georges, now you're a free agent.'"
Lawler, who was once a teammate of St-Pierre's old rival Matt Hughes, said he doesn't care what St-Pierre's next move is but said GSP shouldn't base his decision on any assumption about Lawler's availability to fight.
"He says he was offered a fight against me but I wasn't healthy or whatever. He's basically trying to read between the lines like other people, not knowing what's the matter with me," Lawler said. "Nothing is the matter with me. Do you accept the fight or not? That's the real question, right? Because I'm ready to fight right now. Did you accept it or not? I'm guessing you didn't. Don't try to hide behind, 'I'm not healthy.' That's not the facts.
"I'm always ready to fight that guy. I've been training my whole life to fight a guy like him -- and him, in particular. So don't use my name or try to hide behind something you think might be happening but is not. If he doesn't want the fight, shut up."
When asked if a bout against St-Pierre was ever close to being agreed to on his end, Lawler said, "[UFC president Dana White] said it the whole time, 'GSP does not want to fight,' and he most definitely does not want to fight me, period."
Lawler, who lives in south Florida and trains out of American Top Team, said he has still been in the gym and has even been flying out a strength and conditioning coach in order to stay near fighting shape. He didn't offer an exact timetable on when he'd like to fight again, but said it should be before the end of the year.
"I'm always ready to go," Lawler said. "I've been talking to Dana, figuring some stuff out. I'm making sure he knows that I'm training.
"[The knockout loss] was rough. Things didn't work out. You look at your training and figure out how to get better. I zigged when I should have zagged. I'l sharpen my tools and be better next time. It's no one's fault but my own."