Out of all of the current elite names in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren is most likely the best fighter to never compete under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner. That's been made possible by bad blood and a "boring" fighting style.
Never seeing Askren test his world-class wrestling against the best 170-pound competitors in the world has been an absolute crime, but the 32-year-old undefeated champion may be closer to the real thing as ever before. Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is sort of a free agent, which may allow Askren to finally get his hands on the world's greatest.
"I would say, if I'm making the argument, it's very easy to argue that Georges St-Pierre is the #1 welterweight in the world, still to this day because he never lost going out," said Askren in a recent interview with Flo Combat. "So when you're talking about me versus him, that's a matchup that everyone wants to see, and the fact that he's been out for three years and he's returning, the fact that I've never been able to face anyone in the top 5, that leaves a lot of intrigue to the matchup. So I think that's a matchup that sells huge."
Just to remind us all of how dominant he has been over the past seven years, Askren made his case as to why he should be the one to welcome GSP back to the fight game.
"I've never lost," added Askren. "You can't say I'm not the best. When you try to say I'm not the best, you don't have a great argument for it. People try to say I'm not the best, they don't really have a good argument [for it] besides the fact that I've never had the opportunity to fight someone that's that highly ranked. I mean, Lima was in the top 15 when I fought him, so was Jay Hieron, so was Dan Hornbuckle, now once I beat their ass they moved down a little bit, but now Andrey Koreshkov is a top 10 top 15 guy, and I manhandled him."
Askren has a point. Even though all of his career wins have come outside of UFC, he has defeated some serious talent. Andrey Koreshkov is the current Bellator MMA welterweight champion and he lost to Askren. Douglas Lima is the former Bellator welterweight champion and he lost to Askren. MMA veteran Jay Hieron had won 10 straight before his meeting with Askren in 2011 and, yes, he also lost to "Funky."
St-Pierre certainly has the better track record here, but Askren is playing his cards right considering there's a decent chance the former UFC champ lands somewhere outside of his mother promotion.