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Ben Askren became the new Conor McGregor after ‘Notorious’ got exposed

OneFC Honor & Glory Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, proved that former division kingpin, Conor McGregor, was all bark and no bite after handily defeating “Notorious” at the UFC 229 pay-per-view (PPV) event last October.

Something Floyd Mayweather did when the trash-talking irishman tried to take over the world of boxing.

That’s according to former Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, who told current UFC welterweight contender, Ben Askren, to fill that still-widening gap left by McGregor. The only requirement? “Funky” will have to put his money where his mouth is on fight night.

“Bjorn texted me after my last fight,” Askren told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. “He said, ‘Odd choice of starts, but that finish was rock solid, keep talking shit on everyone, all the time, everywhere. They don’t have the voice now that Conor was exposed. You fill that gap.’ I haven’t heard from him for like five years. Out of nowhere!”

Rebney was ousted from the top spot at Bellator MMA and replaced by former Strikeforce head cheese, Scott Coker, back in mid-2014. He resurfaced several years later and hastily assembled some sort of half-assed fighter union, then just as quickly went back into hiding.

As for Askren, who once held gold for Rebney and Co., he got off to a rocky start in his Octagon debut, getting thrashed and trashed by Robbie Lawler before pulling off a fight-ending submission at UFC 235, one that did not come without controversy.

We’ll see if “Funky” can indeed “fill that gap” when he battles Jorge Masvidal at the upcoming UFC 239 PPV this July in Las Vegas, which may be a fast track to a 170-pound title shot against the winner of Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington.

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