Robbie Lawler plans to 'beat up' Ben Askren


LAS VEGAS – Robbie Lawler is not underestimating Ben Askren’s capabilities ahead of the undefeated fighter’s octagon debut at UFC 235. However, he believes he’s going to be prepared for it.

On paper, Askren (18-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) appears to be a difficult stylistic matchup for former UFC welterweight champion Lawler (28-12 MMA, 13-6 UFC), who will be returning from a 15-month layoff when he competes at the March event.

Lawler’s layoff was not self-imposed, either. He underwent a serious ACL surgery after a loss to Rafael dos Anjos in December 2017, and even though Askren’s wrestling is sure to test the stability of that knee, Lawler said his rehab has gone perfect and that has him feeling confident.

“It’s been a long layoff for me,” Lawler told reporters, including MMAjunkie, at today’s UFC 235 news conference. “I got back from my ACL surgery, and it’s the perfect fight for me to come back. Really I’ve just been concentrating on myself. It’s been a long, hard road, and I’m excited to get back in there and beat up on Askren.”

UFC 235 takes place March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass.

Lawler, No. 8 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, is 1-1 since he dropped the UFC title to No. 1-ranked Tyron Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) at UFC 201 in July 2016. He’s not very vocal about it, but there’s a good chance getting back in the title queue sits somewhere in his mind.

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