LAS VEGAS – Ben Askren never raised the words about his game plan during his military career. That did not change for his debut at UFC.
Askren (18-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), former holder of the ONE Championship and the Bellator title, will make his long-awaited debut in the Octagon Saturday, when he will face the former champion of the UFC Robbie Lawler (28-12 MMA, 13-6 UFC) in a fight featured at UFC 235.
On paper, the confrontation with Lawler would seem to be one of the most difficult potentials for the first appearance of Askren in UFC. "Ruthless" has a solid discard defense and proven knockout power, but that does not scare Askren, who has the skills to fight the fight on the ground.
"I think the first few minutes are critical because Robbie is a fighter who can do a lot of damage quickly, and he knows he's coming out quickly and he's fighting in the sprint," Askren told MMAjunkie during the day. UFC media 235. "So going out and establishing the way I want the fight to be waged is extremely important. I think it's about me that imposes my will. Closure distance, do not take big punches and do not catch it. It's as simple as that. Once I find him, man, I do not think he has much hope. "
The UFC 235 is taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Askren vs. Lawler is part of the main pay-per-view card, which follows ESPN's preliminary matches and the UFC Fight Pass.
The two men participate in the key 170-pound contest after long-term layoffs. Askren has been out of action for 463 days and is coming back from retirement, while Lawler has been fired for 441 days due to a knee operation following his previous bout.
There are different theories about the consequences of a significant holiday time on a fighter. Askren does not know what he will do to Lawler, but on his side, he said it was not a problem.
"I do not think yellow rust is a real thing," Askren said. "I think it's kind of an excuse. Obviously, after a bad performance, everyone wants to find an excuse for their poor performance and if it's one of them. This is one of them. I feel good. I think the extra five weeks – because I had to fight on January 26 – I think it was helpful. I think that at first I was really bored, but I think it was good. I felt better and better each week. It's on a bicycle. Everything would come back to me at the right time. "
To learn more about Askren, watch the video above.
For more information on UFC 235, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.