Ben Askren vs Robbie Lawler Targeted for UFC 233
By Kieran Cobley
This morning, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto announced via Twitter that his sources had told him that the UFC are targeting Ben Askren (18-0) vs Robbie Lawler (28-12) for UFC 233 in January.
According to Okamoto’s sources, the contracts haven’t been signed yet but the UFC are actively working to finalise the details.
This would be Ben Askren’s first fight in the UFC, after the unprecedented trade deal between the UFC and One Championship, which saw the UFC bring in the undefeated Askren, while former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson went the other way.
This is a huge deal for MMA fans, with many calling Johnson the pound-for-pound greatest fighter of all time and calling out UFC’s treatment of him, which included putting one of his twelve title defences on a Fight Night card, whilst getting excited about the potential fights Askren (a former Bellator and One champion) could have in MMA’s premier promotion.
The UFC have only just formally announced Askren joining the promotion, via a crowd shot at UFC 230 this past Saturday.
Why is this fight a big deal?
This fight is a big deal for many fans as it shows that Dana White recognises Askren as a top fighter, by placing him in a fight with one of the top five in the welterweight division.
This is almost unheard of White to do, with history showing before that top fighters brought to the UFC from rival promotions, such as Eddie Alvarez making the jump from Bellator, don’t always get the recognition they deserve upon entering the UFC and have to have multiple fights before being considered in the top ten of the division they have entered.
Further to this, if Askren were to win this fight, the chances are his next two fights would be a title eliminator, and if successful in that fight, a title shot, showing that the UFC recognise they have a top fighter in their hands, as well as a fighter with potential PPV pulling power.
The fight would also be a huge test for Askren, putting his wrestling dominated game up against Lawler’s more brawling style of fighting, with Lawler earning his “Ruthless” moniker by finishing 20 of his 28 wins via KO.
As of yet, the fight hasn’t been formally announced, but MMA fans are now getting excited at the potential fight between Ben “Funky” Askren and “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler.