Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is officially headed to ONE Championship, as the promotion traded “Mighty Mouse” earlier today (Sat., Oct. 27, 2018) in exchange for undefeated welterweight Ben Askren.
This is undoubtedly the most high-profile exchange of talent in mixed martial arts (MMA) history. Johnson, who recently lost his flyweight title to Henry Cejudo at UFC 227, is widely considered one of the top three greatest fighters of all time. Askren, on the other end, still remains one of the best fighters to never compete inside of the Octagon. “Funky” will now get his chance to prove his worth inside of the Octagon while “Mighty Mouse” test his luck overseas.
While neither fighter has released a lengthy response to being traded on this cold October weekend, Johnson and Askren did offer some humorous reactions on social media.
Johnson, who is trained by ONE’s vice president of operations Matt Hume, sent out the following message:
As for Askren, he reached out to UFC president Dana White and asked to be unblocked on Twitter:
Hey BOSS, time to unblock me ;) pic.twitter.com/563Pr51MbC— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 27, 2018
Askren also took the time to welcome on all challengers:
Who else wants in the BUM OF THE MONTH CLUB? Making my list for 2019— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 27, 2018
209 where you at? Y’all acting like a ghost spooked ya.— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 27, 2018
As two of the best fighters in their respective weight classes, Johnson and Askren should have no trouble finding competition in their new homes. It’s just a matter of time before their individual contracts are re-worked and bout agreements are passed across the table.
Johnson is likely to immediately step in and fight current ONE flyweight champion Geje Eustaquio, who defeated Adriano Moraes this past June to claim the title. More importantly, “Mighty Mouse” should find more success in the Asian MMA market than he did here in the United States, lining him up to become one of the promotion’s biggest draws (alongside this guy).
Askren, on the other hand, could be matched up with countless UFC stars, including lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, welterweight contender Colby Covington, former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, and maybe even Nick Diaz. The possibilities are endless, especially considering Askren has already begun his social media onslaught.
For now, fight fans are left to digest this ground-breaking exchange between two of the biggest combat organizations in the world today.
Stick with Mania for more news on the Johnson-Askren trade.