Ben ‘Funky’ Askren finally has his debut fight for the UFC confirmed – he will face former champ Robbie Lawler at UFC 233 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on January 26th.
Not long after news broke of Askren (18-0-0, 1NC) coming to the UFC from ONE Championship in exchange for former Flyweight kingpin Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson, he wasted no time in setting up possible fights for himself. He took to Twitter and started trashing everyone in the welterweight division and beyond, even Conor McGregor.
Most welterweights took the bait and couldn’t resist firing back a few choice insults. These exchanges online meant that pretty much anyone would make a viable match-up for his first fight in the UFC. Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington (18-1-0), in particular, took more flak than most from Askren, being called ‘despicable’.
The outspoken Askren is undefeated as a pro with only one no-contest blemishing his record. He was the Welterweight champion in ONE Championship and Bellator before that. He his known for his wrestling ability and in 2008 he competed for the USA Olympic wrestling team in Beijing, China.
But it’s former champion Robbie Lawler (28-12-0, 1NC) who will welcome Askren into the Octagon. A professional since 2001, Lawler took the welterweight belt from Johny ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks (18-8-0) at UFC 181 in 2014 and defended the belt twice before losing it to current champ Tyron ‘The Chosen One’ Woodley (19-3-1) at UFC 201 in 2016.
Lawler lost his last fight against Rafael dos Anjos (28-10-0) by unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 26 in December 2017 – but he has notable wins on his record against the likes of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (34-11-0, 1NC), Carlos Condit (30-12-0), Matt Brown (21-16-0), Jake Ellenberger (31-15-0), Josh Koscheck (17-11-0) and two famous victories over Rory ‘The Red King’ MacDonald (20-5-0).
Who do you think will take the victory? Have your say in the comments below.