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Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler being finalized for UFC 233 in January

It looks like Ben Askren will make his UFC debut against a former welterweight champion.

One Championship: Dynasty of Heroes
SINGAPORE - MAY 26: Ben Askren of United States celebrates after defeating Agilan Thani of Malaysia in the welterweight world championship bout during the One Championship Dynasty of Heroes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 26, 2017 in Singapore. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

According to UFC president Dana White, Ben Askren likely has his first UFC dance partner. According to a report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, White confirmed to him that Askren will probably meet former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 233 in January. Here’s what he had to say:

Lawler (28-12, 1 NC) last stepped into the Octagon in December, when he dropped a decision to Rafael dos Anjos. He has only fought twice since dropping his 170-pound title to Tyron Woodley in July of 2016.

Askren (18-0, 1 NC) was acquired in a “trade” with ONE Championship a couple of weeks ago, with longtime UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson going in the other direction. The 34-year-old former ONE and Bellator champ hasn’t competed since November 2017 where he stopped Shinya Aoki inside of a minute.

He has been calling out all sorts of potential opponents since his signing was announced, but told assembled media at UFC 230 that it would likely be Lawler or Stephen Thompson that he debuted against.

UFC 233 goes down on January 26th in the Honda Center in Anaheim. No other fights are confirmed for the card as of yet.