LOS ANGELES — It’s the sort of thing that brings a smile to the face of even the most jaded fight fan: Two competitors engage in a battle for the ages, then show mutual respect when they cross paths in the hospital afterwards.

It’s something that’s gone on since the start of the fight game, but since the dawn of the social media age, the public are now made privy to such moments.

Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald had one of the most epic matchups in mixed martial arts history at UFC 189 in Las Vegas. Lawler, not knowing he was trailing on the scorecards heading into the fifth and final round, retained his UFC welterweight title via TKO.

Later that night, the two crossed paths in the hospital, where MacDonald was getting treated for a broken nose, among other injuries, and Lawler was getting a gnarly busted lip repaired. The Instagram photo of the duo soon went viral.

On Thursday, at a media event promoting his upcoming UFC 195 title defense against Carlos Condit, Lawler reflected on that hospital meeting.

I checked to see how he was doing,” Lawler said. “I was just, ‘it was a long war and you were a hell of a fighter and a real warrior.’ Rory deserves everyone’s respect.'”

Lawler’s known for being an unsentimental person. And while the champ at first tried to dismiss the importance of his fight with MacDonald, he admitted that somewhere down the road, he’s probably going to look back and appreciate being a part of an encounter fans will long remember.

“Maybe when I get old and gray I’ll start thinking about those things,” Lawler said. “But obviously it’s nice to put on a performance that people will remember for a long time. I don’t sit around thinking about it every day, but yeah, it does matter, and you’re glad the fans remember it and appreciate what you go through for them.”

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http://www.mmafighting.com/2015/10/25/9604754/robbie-lawler-looks-back-on-hospital-meeting-with-rory-macdonald