As it stands right now, labeling the career of undefeated Bellator and ONE welterweight champion, Ben Askren a “mystery” wouldn’t feel very outrageous. How so? Everyone who has ever seen Askren fight can see how very clearly talented he was and is. The mystery just remains, “exactly how good was he?”
Askren capped off his eighteen fight career in November fighting for ONE Championships and never stepping foot into a UFC octagon. Despite making it clear he’s retired, Askren has still left the door open to a possibility. Proving he truly was the best regardless of whether he fought for the UFC or not. To do so, Askren believes he must face one of the greatest of all time across all weight classes, Georges St-Pierre. Askren made a bold prediction when speaking with MMAJunkie today:
“My main motivation is to prove I’m #1 in the world. I think it will happen, at the Bell Centre (in Montreal). Me vs. ‘GSP,’ probably somewhere in late 2019… I don’t need to make any more money from fighting, and there’s only one thing left to prove. I’ve been #1 for the past five years, and I’ve unfortunately never had the chance to prove that fight. It’s the one thing that interests me.
My first UFC negotiation was so dirty, it left such a bad taste in my mouth, I already didn’t want to talk to Dana. I don’t trust a damn word that comes out of his mouth. I don’t trust a word. It’s like, why did I never pursue that again? Well, it’s because the first time I got screwed over. It was just about as dirty a deal as anyone could give you. I don’t want to have that discussion again. I don’t trust them one bit.
I’m 33, and I’ve taken very good care of my body. I’ve never taken PEDs, so there’s no ill effects from that. I’ve never had a very major injury since college, and that was my neck, and it’s been over a decade, so I’m fine there. I’m very healthy. I’m planning on staying in good shape, not fighting shape. But I don’t see myself as being one of those guys that’s going to age very quickly.”
Askren told the story about his first UFC negotiation he’s referring to when making an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast last month.
As most MMA fans are aware, St-Pierre made his long-awaited return at UFC 217 after being retired for four years. In said return, he came back at a higher weight class than what he fought at before and defeated the middleweight champion, Michael Bisping to put him on the very short list of fighters to have won UFC titles in two different divisions.
GSP has since vacated the title due to ulcerative colitis thus forcing him out indefinitely.
So what do you think? Will Askren’s prediction come true? Do you want it to? Who would win?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/12/2018.