A few days ago, the historic trade between former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and ex-ONE and Bellator welterweight king, Ben Askren, was completed and paved the way for new chapters in their respective lives.
While “Mighty Mouse” can conquer new lands alongside his trainer Matt Hume — Vice President of Operations for ONE — overseas, Ben can finally silence all of his doubters by taking on the best the Octagon has to offer. And if UFC is willing to trade away its most dominant champion ever, Askren believes the company is obviously finally starting to recognize his value, despite their past issues.
“UFC sees the value in me because they traded me for literally the greatest fighter who has ever stepped on planet earth in Demetrious Johnson. That guy defended his belt 11 times. He is phenomenal, so they see the value in what I am going to do for their organization to trade their best fighter away for me.”
Wasting no time in calling out the entire 170-pound roster, Askren once again revealed his plans to pick off every top contender one by one on his way to the top.
“Khabib? I’m the best grappler on planet earth. Khabib, bring the heat. Georges, come out of retirement just tell me what I got to do. Whether it’s my amount of followers or to beat someone up, you just name what I got to do Georges because you are not saying nothing,” he said, before turning his attention on the Diaz brothers.
“Diaz, if you put down the pipe long enough to pass a USADA test to get in the cage. Masvidal you’re a bum. Boom roasted. I got nothing bad to say about Stephen Thompson, but I know I will beat him up. Darren Till, he’s the worst. I’ll beat him up. Till, if you’re really tough, call UFC and tell them they want me. I’ll come to London, I am not scared.”
While there are no plans in motion for Askren’s official debut, he still has to go through the United States Anti Doping (USADA) four-month window before he takes part in his first bout. Plus, he has to negotiate a contract with UFC. That means “Funky” has plenty of time to keep antagonizing the 170-pound roster.
But if he had his choice, he would face current Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at catchweight before finally taking on former two-division champion, Georges St-Pierre.
And it would be easy money, according to one of his teammates.
“As far as Georges is concerned this isn’t a sign of disrespect. I think he is one of, if not the greatest welterweights of all time. That said, I think my skill-set matches up very well with him and I want a challenge,” he added.
“I don’t get to pick it, but if I did it would be Khabib and then Georges. I would say at 165, at catchweight. I think if you ask Khabib he would say he likes 165 and that would be a good weight class for me,” he added. “And then they’d have a reason to give McGregor another belt! It’s fantastic, everybody wins. I am creating win-win-win. I just got Conor McGregor another belt. Boom.”
Never change, Ben.
Realistically, the wrestling standout expects to make his UFC debut in the first quarter of 2019 against the first brave soul to take the bait. Who will it be?