Former Bellator and ONE FC welterweight champion Ben Askren’s debut in the Octagon will come against ex-UFC 170lb titleholder Robbie Lawler at UFC 233 in Anaheim, California on January 26th.
Askren had called out a who’s who of the welterweight division when his switch to the UFC was first announced, but ‘Ruthless’ wasn’t someone he chose to get into a war of words with.
However, on Saturday night he did hint that it was likely to be Lawler that he locks horns with first and now it’s been confirmed.
“Lots of welterweights breathing easy right about now. Don’t worry your times will come!” Askren wrote, again opting not to take the trash-talking route with Lawler he had done with the likes of Colby Covington, Darren Till and others.
Askren heads into the fight with an undefeated 18-0 (+1nc) record, with his most victory being a TKO stoppage against Shinya Aoki in his final welterweight title defense for ONE FC in November of last year.
After that Askren announced his retirement from the sport, but left the door open for a possible return if the UFC came calling, and while he had to be patient, that’s now exactly what happened and fight fans are eager to see if the former Olympic wrestler can be as dominant in the Octagon as he has been elsewhere in his career.
As for Lawler, he’s also been out of action in 2018 due to a torn ACL, with his last fight being a loss against Rafael dos Anjos in December of last year.
Prior to that Lawler had earned a victory over Donald Cerrone, getting back to winning ways after having lost the 170lb strap via KO to Tyron Woodley in his previous fight.