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In the immediate aftermath of his technical submission loss to Askren (19-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) this past month, Lawler (28-13 MMA, 13-7 UFC) said he wanted to run it back. The former UFC champ felt referee Herb Dean made an error by stopping the fight while he was a trapped in a bulldog choke, but not unconscious.
UFC President Dana White was keen on immediately booking a rematch, but after several weeks passed, both men were confirmed for other matchups. Lawler fights Tyron Woodley (19-4-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) in the main event of UFC on ESPN 4 on June 29, while Askren meets Jorge Masvidal (33-13 MMA, 10-6 UFC) at UFC 239 on July 6.
Lawler said there was no disappointment in missing out on the change to avenge the loss to Askren.
“I’m not too worried about what happened in the past,” Lawler told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the UFC’s seasonal press conference during UFC 236 fight week in Atlanta. “It’s all about getting better, working on my skills.”
Lawler might not be getting the opportunity to fight Askren next time out, but he can get back another key defeat on his record. Woodley took the UFC welterweight title from “Ruthless” with a brutal first-round knockout at UFC 201 in July 2016. It’s one of the rare instances he’s been stopped by strikes in his career.
There doesn’t appear to be any ill will from Lawler toward Woodley, but he knows beating Woodley, who just dropped the title to Kamaru Usman at UFC 235, would be a meaningful accomplishment.
“This is a big fight, main event,” Lawler said. “I’m excited to try to whoop somebody’s butt.”
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