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Rory MacDonald impressed by Ben Askren’s UFC debut: Not a lot of people can come back after taking that kind of punishment

“But props to him, he’s tough, he survived and not only survived but kept coming forward.”

From one warrior to another, former UFC title challenger turned Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald has praised Ben Askren for his come-from-behind win against Robbie Lawler at UFC 235.

Askren, the former Bellator and ONE FC welterweight champ, caught some flak for the win due to the controversial nature of the stoppage, but no one can deny the toughness and determination ‘Funky’ demonstrated in his UFC debut.

MacDonald agrees that it was a poor stoppage (Askren submitted Lawler with a bulldog choke despite ‘Ruthless’ not tapping out and giving the thumbs up to signal that he was okay), but ‘The Red King’ thinks Askren is deserving of much more praise for the win.

Askren was dropped and slammed on his head but came back to secure the submission, which MacDonald thinks is worthy of applaud.

“I did see the fight. He’s quite a powerful star. But props to him, he’s tough, he survived and not only survived but kept coming forward. He got back to his feet and he kept moving towards, which is… Not a lot of people can do that after taking that kind of punishment. Obviously, the stoppage was not great. In my opinion, he (Lawler) was awake and fine. But that’s the sport, the ref has to make a call and unfortunately it was in a tough position to make the right call. So it’s just one of those things. But it was interesting,” MacDonald said in a recent interview with

It’s expected that Askren, who is undefeated after twenty professional fights (1 NC), will go on to face former street fighter Jorge Masvidal in his second bout under the UFC banner. Askren vs. Masvidal is slated to take place at UFC 239 on July 6.

As for MacDonald, the Bellator champ retained his welterweight title when he fought Jon Fitch to a draw this past Saturday at Bellator 220. The 29-year-old will go on to fight Neiman Gracie in the next stage of the Bellator welterweight grand prix, presumably at Bellator 222 on June 14.

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