Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight and Middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre recently revealed his battle with ulcerative colitis — which forced him to vacate the 185-pound strap — seems to be getting under control, and a return to action could happen sooner than expected.
But if the promotion wants to have him back, they need to offer him someone that gets his juices flowing, an opponent who can elevate his legacy, to be exact. And while there are plenty of fighters within the UFC ranks that could do just that, there are several notables athletes fighting outside of the Octagon who could pose credible threats to “Rush.”
Among them is Ben Askren, who always had an eye on fighting St-Pierre. Fortunately for Ben, Georges thinks very highly of him as a fighter. The problem? Nobody knows who Askren is, according to Georges, as he has never competed for UFC, therefore doesn’t have the reach and appeal to draw big numbers.
“Ben Askren, I don’t understand why he’s not in UFC, because he’s one of the best welterweights in the world,” St-Pierre said on The MMA Hour via MMA Fighting. “I think it has to do with maybe a problem that he has with Dana White, but he’s one of the best fighters in the world. And if there’s a guy that in my career, for my legacy, that would have been good to fight, it would have been Ben Askren, because he beat everybody. He beat all the guys in Bellator. He beat all the champions outside of the UFC. But unfortunately, I think he had a fallout with Dana and he never had the chance to fight in the UFC. And therefore, his stock never went to the value that it’s supposed to be at,” said St-Pierre, who quickly reminded fight fans that MMA is, after all, a money-making business.
“He’s a guy who’s extremely, extremely talented, a very dangerous guy, but nobody knows who he is because he’s never been exposed to the public. But he’s very good. In order to have a fight with me, I would have liked him to be exposed to the public so his stock goes up, so if I fight him, at least it’s a win-win situation. Otherwise you fight a guy who’s extremely dangerous who nobody cares about, who nobody knows who he is. It’s sad, but that’s the real way to look at it. And the reason why I’m saying that in your interview now is because I want people to be aware of who he is, I want him to have a chance to fight in the UFC, to go fight against the big dogs, the big boys of the sport, and I think he’s in certainly the top five, maybe the top three in the welterweight division.”
Askren retired from active competition last November as the ONE Welterweight champion with an undefeated mark of 18-0-1. As for why he’s never competed inside the Octagon, St-Pierre hit the nail on the head, as UFC president Dana White was never too fond of “Funky.”
And vice versa.
Nevertheless, Askren has stated he would return to active fighting if he scores a showdown against St-Pierre. And he has an unlikely ally to help make that happen, as UFC commentator Joe Rogan has gone on record saying he would mediate a sit-down with Ben and White in order to get a deal done.
Whether or not White would even entertain that idea, is another story.