Ben Askren: UFC Wants Me to Lose to Robbie Lawler

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Ever since joining the UFC roster, Ben Askren has turned up the volume of his rhetoric toward the UFC welterweight roster. He has gone out of his way to call out everyone in the top five of the division except for his close friend and training partner Tyron Woodley and the man the UFC ultimately decided to pit him against: Robbie Lawler. Earlier this week, Ben Askren stated that this was no accident and that Lawler was handpicked for one specific reason:

“He’s probably the guy in the top five with the best opportunity to beat me,” Askren told ESPN. “He has pretty good wrestling and he’s obviously a heavy striker. If you want someone to beat me, that’s probably the best you’ll find.”

“It’s obvious. They don’t want me to win. (Dana White) will deny it, but he should just come out and say, ‘I don’t like Ben Askren. I think he’s a jackass, and I want to see him get beat up.’

“That’d be cool, and I would take no offense to that whatsoever.”

For a promotion with a reputation for valuing and promoting fighters who trash talk, Askren can think of no other explanation for why they would opt to select the one fighter he has not called out and has no animosity with:

“There are a bunch of guys I genuinely dislike that I could have fought,” Askren said. “I actually kinda like Robbie Lawler. I would have preferred someone I don’t like, because it would have been so much more fun.”

Don’t be fooled by the conspiracy theory, though. Ben Askren is approaching his UFC debut with a positive mindset and is still expecting to have a lot of fun in there against the former welterweight champion:

“I think it will be all right, though. It may take away my ability to talk trash, because it would be fake. But Robbie is a former UFC champion, he’s really tough. I don’t feel the UFC did it wrong at all. I feel it’s a good matchup on a good card, the first pay-per-view in the ESPN era, if you will. I was really happy to be put on this card.”

Do you think the UFC made the right move in selecting Robbie Lawler to be Ben Askren’s first UFC opponent?