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Ben Askren: Conor McGregor is ‘barely the best in the world,’ Nate Diaz ‘sucks’

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UFC 202: Diaz v McGregor 2 Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Ben Askren has belonged in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for some years now, but may never get his chance to shine under the brightest lights in mixed martial arts (MMA).

The undefeated 33-year-old is widely considered the best 170-pound fighter to never compete under the UFC banner. While efforts have been made by the likes of UFC color commentator Joe Rogan to bring “Funky” and UFC together, the feud between Askren and UFC president Dana White is as real as it gets.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Askren from discussing his potential impact should he ever compete in UFC, especially against top promotional draws like Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.

“Nate Diaz sucks. I mean, yeah. [Conor] McGregor is barely the best in the world,” Askren said during a recent interview with MMA on Sirius XM (transcript via “I mean, the guy beat up Nate Diaz barely a couple of times and Nate Diaz himself is a very mediocre UFC fighter. There is no way you can argue that sentiment because all you have to do is look at [Diaz’s] record.”

“The record shows he’s a very middle-of-the-road UFC fighter, he’s a 500 guy,” Askren said of Diaz. “He wins half, he loses half. Sure, he’s had some good wins, but he’s also had some terrible losses.”

Askren, who retired from MMA following his 57-second title defense over Shinya Aoki at ONE 63 this past November, has left the door open for a potential return to the cage. And while it would be in his best interest to want a high-profile money fight against the likes of Diaz or McGregor, “Funky” is still holding out for a battle with former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who is currently battling ulcerative colitis.

“And you know McGregor, he lands a couple of good punches against Eddie Alvarez,” Askren said. “Is he good? Sure, but I’d like to see him defend his belt, he’s never defended his belt ever. But sure, if McGregor wanted to fight me – I don’t know, is he the best in the world? I guess since he’s got the belt.”

“Sure, if he wanted to come up and fight me, that’d be fine,” Askren continued. “He knows that’s a terrible idea, I know that’s a terrible idea. He’s not gonna do it. Let’s just stick with the game plan and go with Georges [St-Pierre].”

For now, fight fans are left to imagine the destruction that Askren would leave behind should he ever get his hands on the UFC roster. White has resolved feuds in the past to sign some of the best names in the sport so maybe “Funky” will get the greenlight later this year.