It’s official, ladies and gentlemen! Undefeated former Bellator Welterweight Champion ‘Funky’ Ben Askren will be making his octagon debut at UFC 233, set to go down in Anaheim, California, on January 26, 2019.
Askren’s opponent will be another former welterweight champion, “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, who hasn’t fought since his unanimous decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos in December 2017.
The news was announced by the UFC only an hour before the time of this writing:
Funky, meet Ruthless.Lawler welcomes Askren to the Octagon at #UFC233 in Anaheim!
Askren is coming to the UFC after a four year stint in the Asian MMA promotion, ONE Championship (ONE FC). In the first recorded trade in mixed martial arts history, the UFC traded a former champion of their own, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, in order to welcome Askren into their promotion.
If the match goes down in January, it will certainly answer one of the biggest questions in MMA: can Ben Askren hold his own against top MMA talent? Funky has been able to dominate most of his opponents, but none of them have been top ten fighters. Lawler, however, is ranked sixth in the Sherdog’s welterweight rankings, and also has a wrestling background that could prove to be a challenge for Askren.
But can Lawler’s wrestling and punching power save him from a man who may be one of MMA’s stop grapplers? The mixed martial arts world will have to wait and see!