Ben Askren Not Interested in Lawler Rematch, Reacts to Woodley Loss

Robbie Lawler and Ben Askren
Robbie Lawler and Ben Askren Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

Asked about a rematch with Robbie Lawler, Ben Askren said he’s simply not interested following a bloody battle at UFC 235.

Ben Askren’s UFC debut didn’t go the right way, not exactly. While he got the win, it game after a controversial stoppage in a fight that, to that point, he was losing. Former UFC welterweight champ Robbie Lawler was the man welcoming Askren to the UFC. Lawler started strong. Dumped Askren on his head, bloodied him, nearly had a finish.

That said, Askren hung in there. Pushed through, got a takedown, and caught Lawler in a bulldog choke. That’s where the controversy started. Lawler seemed to go out, mainly because his hand dropped. Herb Dean, seeing that, and not getting a response from Lawler, called the fight. But Lawler didn’t appear to be out after all, and immediately began protesting.

Askren later told Cageside Press that “[Lawler] wasn’t getting out. It was just could I squeeze him out before the end of the round or not. I wasn’t letting go of that, and I’ve got a pretty tight squeeze.”

NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett later told reporters that he felt Lawler was out. Dana White, meanwhile, is apparently keen on a rematch. So is Lawler. Askren isn’t biting, however.

“Not really. I didn’t really want to fight him in the first place,” Askren said of a possible rematch. “I like Robbbie Lawler a lot. What’s the point? Right now I’ve got a plane ticket to London.”

There, he plans on scouting his next opponent. “I heard they gave Colby Marty [new welterweight champ Kamaru Usman], that’s kind of annoying. Nobody likes Colby. Get him out of here, please. I thought he was getting traded or something.”

“So I’m going to go to London. Till vs. Masvidal, that’s like 3 vs. 6, 3 vs 7. I think the winner of that is probably going to be top three. And that’s who I’d like to fight,” ‘Funky’ Ben revealed.

Asked again later, Askren reiterated “I pass,” noting that he liked Lawler and didn’t like the match-up in the first place, though accepted it no questions asked.

Earlier in the night, Askren had something to say about the co-main event between his pal Tyron Woodley, and Kamaru Usman, who soundly defeated his teammate. In short, he accused Usman of fighting “like a b*tch.”

Asked by Cageside Press post-fight about the comment, he stated that “if I would have fought like that, the arena would have booed me out of the place. I mean, how many times did the fight get broken up because of lack of action?”

“Obviously on Tyron’s end, as a competitor, Tyron needs to let his hands go, and get it going. But as far as Marty’s concerned, he was just pushing him into the cage, pushing him into the cage. When he was on top, he wasn’t really doing much.” It’s an interesting take. While there were a number of stand-ups by the ref, Usman was far from using a lay n’ pray approach. Askren later admitted that “I understand there’s some bias involved.”

But as to whether Usman put on an exception performance, Askren answered “I don’t know, really? That’s not what I felt when I was watching it. I felt that Tyron didn’t let his offense go. That was what I felt when I was watching it.”

“Kamaru. Marty. Whatever his damn name is. He pushed him against the cage. When he got the takedowns, it’s not like he progressed anywhere,” he continued. “There was the one segment in the fourth round, when they really both kind of let it go for about thirty seconds.”

“How many breakages were there due to a lack of action? I think four or five?” As to if those were warranted, “he wasn’t doing anything. You have to do something. They tell you that. You have to do something. You can’t just push.”