It’s been a long year and a half for Jimmy Lawson outside of the cage.
Since the New Jersey native’s last fight in November 2019, his mother successfully battled cancer, but he also suffered the loss of his cousin Brandon Lawson, who passed away due to a car accident this past January. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he found little time to train since he was taking care of his mother and working a security job.
The former Penn State wrestler is set to return to the cage against David White at Ring of Combat 73 in Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 17. Lawson’s return is a long time coming.
“My mother is in remission now and is able to see me fight since the pandemic is over, so we’re just excited and blessed to have gotten through it,” Lawson said.
“There’s just a lot of exciting energy going through me right now, no matter what happens because over this pandemic I had the opportunity to realize what’s really important. What’s really important is getting after it and making the most of this opportunity.”
Lawson is less than three weeks from his fourth professional appearance. A much better position to be in that a year ago, not knowing when his return would be.
The heavyweight gained weight during the pandemic, weighing as high as 300 pounds. Lawson is back to walking around at 260 pounds.
Although work and family took priority, the Killer B Sports Academy product still managed to progress as a martial artist throughout the pandemic.
“I’ve had a lot of time to hone my skills in the striking department, the jui-jitsu department, even my wrestling department,” Lawson said. “I feel with the culmination of all of that, I’ve become a way better mixed martial artist.”
Lawson is a firm believer in the concept that fighters are built from trials and tribulations throughout their life. He relates to the notion.
He recalls conversations with his late cousin, speaking about Lawson’s goals of making it to the UFC one day. It’s the same reason Lawson started his career training out of AKA Academy with former UFC heavyweight champions Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez.
Today, Lawson is still chasing the dream.
“A lot of guys come from backgrounds or something happened to them in their lives where they just are able to go in there and be a savage. Punch another man in the face that they might not have any problem with and continuously do so,” Lawson said. “I’m at the point in my life now where my body has matched up to my mental aspects.”
Lawson’s return is against a much more experienced fighter in White. White fought six times as a professional, only winning his last two bouts in 2019.
White is yet to go the full distance, only making it to the third round once in his career.
Although Lawson is also coming off back-to-back victories in 2019. Lawson spent over a year thinking about his next fight and it’s getting closer.
He expects it to be worth the wait.
“I have high expectations for the fight,” Lawson said. “I think no matter what, people are going to be happy with the performance.”