Robbie Lawler had to wait and listen to the scorecards be read off before he could celebrate Saturday night at UFC 181. That’s not how he wanted it to happen.

Lawler became the welterweight champion, scoring a split decision over Johny Hendricks in the main event. He talked about his plan going in during the post-fight show on FOX Sports 1.

“I though I was going to dominate and knock him out, but he’s tough and it was a hell of a fight once again,” he said. “The plan was to get out there and beat him up, stuff his takedowns and make him pay.

“I did a good job creating damage, dirty boxing and beating him up. I feel like I won it.”

Lawler admitted that in the first meeting – a win by Hendricks – that he let the fight get away from him. He wasn’t about to let that happen this time around.

“That’s what happened last time. He finished a lot stronger at the end and got the victory, and I wanted to finish him and I really tried to beat him up at the end,” Lawler said. “I wanted to be the better guy at the end.”

The 32-year-old has won three straight now since the loss to Hendricks and is 6-1 overall in his last seven fights. Along with his win over Hendricks, he’s also defeated Matt Brown, Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald and Josh Koscheck.

For Lawler, this was a culmination in a long process that dates back to his first run with the promotion.

“I really had to dig deep. It didn’t just happen (Saturday), it was a lot of years of hard work in the gym and it paid off,” he said. “This is awesome. There’s a lot of people behind me. This isn’t just about me. ATT was behind me the whole way. I’ve been there for two years and look at me today.”