2018 came and went without seeing Lawler compete, due to multiple injuries his knee incurred during his decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos, in December, 2017. It was the first campaign of Lawler’s 15 years plus career that “Ruthless” didn’t fight.
Well, the UFC has tapped Lawler to welcome Askren to the Octagon, and while talking to MMA Junkie recently, the star had this to say about his condition, as his return nears:
“I feel damn frickin’ good right now,” Lawler said. “I don’t know when it clicked that, holy (expletive), I’m a beast again. But I am.”
“But that was always the goal – just get back to work and everything will fall into place. I just believed in myself that it was going to happen at the right time. I can’t wait to show everybody how hard I’ve been working.”
Now, provided Lawler’s being honest here, and he’s always seemed like someone who is pretty direct while talking to the media, this is interesting news. The former champ will need to be at his best if he’s going to have a decent shot of shutting down a wrestling game from Askren, which to date, no one has really been able to do.
If you’re wondering, Lawler has defended 69% of the takedown attempts he’s faced in the Octagon, and he has defeated accomplished wrestlers like Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks. But, most observers would likely agree Askren’s wrestling is on another level compared to Lawler’s opponents to date.
Here is the line-up for UFC 235, which will take place in Las Vegas.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Jon Jones (c) vs. Anthony Smith
UFC Welterweight Championship
Tyron Woodley (c) vs. Kamaru Usman
Welterweight: Robbie Lawler vs. Ben Askren
Strawweight: Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang
Welterweight: Diego Sanchez vs. Mickey Gall
Female Bantamweight: Gina Mazany vs. Macy Chiasson
Female Bantamweight: Holly Holm vs. Aspen Ladd
Featherweight: Jeremy Stephens vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
Light Heavyweight: Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov
Bantamweight: Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz
Bantamweight: Thomas Almeida vs. Marlon Vera