EXCLUSIVE | Rory MacDonald impressed by Ben Askren’s UFC debut, ‘He’s quite a powerful star’

Rory-MacDonald-Ben-Askren
PhotoCred: MMA Junkie / MMA News

Current Bellator welterweight champion, Rory MacDonald has become fairly familiar with ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler over the years.

Formerly a staple of the UFC’s 170-pound division, MacDonald would fight Lawler twice during his UFC run. The first time being in a three-round affair that saw him on the wrong end of a split decision. Their second encounter would come two years later as Lawler was now the champion.

Going toe to toe for four and a half rounds in what is regarded as one of the greatest fights of all-time, MacDonald would again succumb to Lawler but this time via TKO.

One fight after that bout and ‘The Red King’ was on his way to Bellator where he would quickly obtain gold.

In that time, ‘Funky’ undisputed former Bellator welterweight champion, Ben Askren made his way to the UFC. But there was a short period prior to Askren being traded from ONE Championship and the Bellator welterweight Grand Prix being started where it looked like the two could have squared off.

Obviously, that never came to fruition and instead Askren would make his debut against Lawler and get the job done in one round via submission (bulldog choke).

“I did see the fight,” MacDonald told BJPenn.com. “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 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.”

Now, MacDonald is set to defend his title this Saturday night against Jon Fitch in the last opening round bout of the welterweight tournament. Askren, on the other hand, will battle it out with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 on July 6.

Although any chance of the fight has seemingly vanished with Askren’s UFC signing, MacDonald added that he was, of course, open to the fight if presented with it.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/25/2019