Ben Askren has no plans to revisit his fight with Robbie Lawler despite claims that their first meeting ended in controversy.
The sequence that brought the contest to a close last weekend at UFC 235 happened after Lawler blasted Askren with some huge bombs early in the opening round that had the 2008 Olympian busted open and bleeding from his face.
Askren then mounted a comeback by securing a takedown and then during a scramble he grabbed onto Lawler’s head and transitioned into the rarely seen bulldog choke.
A few moments later, Lawler’s arm appeared to drop, which referee Herb Dean saw before rushing into stop the contest. Unfortunately what Dean didn’t see was Lawler give a thumbs up that he was OK to continue and the former welterweight champion bounced up immediately after the fight was stopped to protest that he was in any danger much less finished.
In the aftermath of the fight, UFC president Dana White called it a ‘bad stoppage’ and said he wanted to rebook Askren against Lawler in the near future.
For his part, Askren sees no need to face Lawler a second time because he believes the end of the fight was completely justified.
“Obviously the contest didn’t go the way I wanted to, although the outcome was great,” Askren said on his Rudis podcast this week “Controversy creates cash obviously, to me there was no controversy. I got beat up for a little bit, got put in a really bad position, I came out of it and I was able to finish him.”
According to Askren, once he secured the bulldog choke, there was no chance that Lawler was going to get free of the submission.
He believes the stoppage was justified but even if the referee stepped in a second or two early, the result was still going to be the same no matter what.
“So No. 1, I do think he passed out for a little bit. No. 2, there was just no escape,” Askren stated. “There was 1:40 left, he was not getting out of that hold in no way, shape or form.
“It was sunk deep, it was sunk tight and there was just literally nowhere for him to go.”
For his part, Lawler was upset about the stoppage for a few moments but then calmed down and called Dean ‘one hell of a referee’ before leaving the cage.
While Lawler obviously deserves recognition for his good sportsmanship, the UFC may still attempt to give him a second shot at Askren, although the former Bellator and ONE champion doesn’t seem all that interested.
Next up for Askren is a trip to London next week where he will serve as one of the UFC’s guest fighters while also hoping to get the winner of the main event fight between Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal.