Ben Askren’s Octagon debut is nearly finalized, as the promotion is targeting a matchup with Robbie Lawler at UFC 233.
ESPN was first to report the welterweight booking. Contracts have not yet been signed, according to the report, but that appears to be a formality at this point. Askren himself appeared to confirm the matchup on Twitter. The UFC has not formally announced the bout.
Lots of welterweights breathing easy right about now. Don’t worry your times will come! https://t.co/8xDJwIC7VZ— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) November 6, 2018
UFC 233 takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 26. The card will be the Las Vegas-based promotion’s first pay-per-view of 2019.
Askren came to the UFC as part of a trade with Singapore-based organization One Championship. “Funky” was released from his contract and allowed to sign with the UFC, while Demetrious Johnson was released from his deal to join One. Askren, a former titlist with both Bellator and One, is 18-0 as a professional.
Lawler was initially rumored to face Stephen Thompson as part of the UFC’s debut on ESPN+, but that bout apparently did not come to fruition. The former UFC welterweight king did not compete at all in 2018 and is coming off a five-round unanimous decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on Fox 26.