This Saturday night (March 23, 2019), former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will make the move up to the Welterweight division to face off against former two-time title contender, Stephen Thompson, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 148 in Nashville, Tennessee.
For Pettis — who has fought the best-of-the best at both Lightweight and Featherweight — going up to 170 pounds for the first time is his chance to try and conquer new lands against fresh faces. One man he will never face, however, is Ben Askren.
And not just because their both teammates at Roufusport, but because “Showtime” doesn’t really feel like getting embarrassed.
“I would never fight Ben Askren. I’ll save myself the embarrassment. That dude is a fucking monster,” said Pettis during a recent media scrum. “I feel like while I’m training with been and Ty (Tyron Woodley), when I’m 55 they are obviously bigger and stronger; but out of camp and at my natural weight I feel amazing.”
When asked to clarify just how good Ben really is, Pettis didn’t hold back with the praises.
“He’s a monster. Ben is one of those guys that when I was at 55, he was the one getting me ready for Ben Henderson, all the guys in that run I went on, Ben was one of my main training partners,” he added.
“He’s the guy that you can never count out. I spin back kicked him one time right on the chin. And I could tell he was hurt, but he double legs me, gets on top and just starts grinding me out. He is really a tough, deep down guys.”
At 19-0 (1), Askren has long been one of the most dominant fighters in the 170-pound weight class, competing for the majority of his career under the Bellator MMA and ONE Championship banners, winning and defending the title for both promotion’s.
After finally getting his chance inside the UFC Octagon, “Funky” made a successful — albeit controversial — promotional debut at UFC 235 a few weeks ago by submitting former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in the very fist round (see it).
That win was good enough to put him earn him the No. 6 spot right from he jump. While Askren has plenty of people on his radar for his next outing, UFC president Dana White is adamant he will book a rematch between he and “Ruthless.”