Ben Askren may finally have his UFC debut set, as a new report by ESPN suggests Askren will face Robbie Lawler at UFC 233 in January 2019.
With Ben Askren newly added to the UFC roster of stars, the promotion is finally ready to get ‘Funky.’ Askren, who claimed welterweight gold in both Bellator MMA and ONE Championship, was brought over to the UFC following a blockbuster trade for Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson. That deal brought Askren out of retirement, and into the world’s largest MMA promotion, an opportunity he has long pursued. Now, a debut date and opponent is in the works: Robbie Lawler, at UFC 233, according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
Lawler (28-12-0, 1 NC) is an interesting choice for a debut opponent when it comes to Ben Askren. Over the course of his forty-fight career, Lawler has proven effective against wrestlers, with close to a 70% takedown avoidance rate in the UFC. A former welterweight champion, Lawler is 1-1 since losing the title to Tyron Woodley. Those fights saw ‘Ruthless’ score a decision win over Cowboy Cerrone before losing a five round decision to Rafael dos Anjos last December at UFC on FOX 26. Lawler has not fought since.
Askren (18-0, 1NC) will enter the UFC undefeated in his professional career. Holding wins over Lyman Good, Douglas Lima, and Andrey Koreshkov in Bellator (the later two would become champions in Askren’s absence), he most recently defeated Shinya Aoki in ONE Championship. The wrestling standout also picked up wins over Agilan Thani and current title hopeful Zebaztian Kadestam in the Asian MMA organization.
UFC 233 was recently announced by the UFC, and will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on January 26.