Ever since Ben Askren walked away from combat sports, he made no mistake that only a fight with the best in the world could bring him back out of retirement. He threw the offer down on the table for a fight with Georges St-Pierre, but not a lot of people had faith it happened. Then, St-Pierre relinquished the UFC middleweight title and left the division leaving only two options: Retire for good or go back to welterweight. After hearing this news, he doubled down on his offer and even was willing to put some Bitcoin on the line. In his latest interview with Submission Radio, he talked in depth about St-Pierre and how he’s a stylistic nightmare for the former two-division champ.
“Wasn’t that what you expected? I expected that [Georges St-Pierre would vacate the UFC middleweight title]. I knew that, I mean, my suspicion was that there’s no way that he’s ever going to fight again at middleweight. This was the one time he would because I think he had a good idea that he was gonna beat Michael Bisping, but there’s no way he wanted to fight Robert Whittaker. He didn’t want that fight. So, I definitely think we’ll never see him in middleweight again. Now, will we see him fight again? I’m not sure. GSP versus Conor [McGregor] is not a super fight. Conor McGregor is 2-1 in his last three fights against someone who is not even very good, so I don’t think Conor deserves a super fight against Georges. I see it pretty simply. Georges doesn’t like tough fights. And when Georges gets in a tough fight, he takes people down repeatedly and he’s very good at it, very good at it. He’s very good at maintaining top position. I’m not gonna go away easily, I will be a tough fight and Georges will not repeatedly take me down. And if he somehow takes me down he absolutely will not keep me down.”
UFC welterweight champ @TWooodley says @BenAskren would’ve “definitely” been a champion if given the chance to fight in the UFC. Do you agree? Watch full video: https://t.co/H0AD2wWQrQ pic.twitter.com/EkklUa7z2y
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) December 11, 2017
“I said retirement I always left it with a caveat, and the caveat was that if I get to fight and prove I’m number one, that I would do that. No one knows where I stand because I’ve literally, in my entire career I’ve had one competitive match and that was when I was two and a half years into my fighting career, and so people don’t know exactly how good I was. My good friend Tyron [Woodley] is the number one welterweight in the world, the UFC Champion and he made a statement the other day that if I would ever get my opportunity I would have been UFC champion. So I don’t think you can have a better recommendation than that because he’s achieved everything he possibly could achieve.If somehow Tyron was to lose, which I don’t see happening, and there was someone else who was kind of a clear number one [other than St-Pierre], I would potentially consider fighting them. Otherwise, no, not really.” — Ben Askren speaking to Submission Radio.
Ironically, Ben Askren leaving the sport and St-Pierre vacating a title seems like the best bet for Askren to finally make it into the UFC, who are all about making superfights. If the UFC doesn’t do St-Pierre fighting Conor McGregor or Tyron Woodley, then there aren’t that many options, which Askren is taking full advantage of. The mystery of Askren never competing against UFC fighters and the title of “best welterweight of all time” on the line combined with St-Pierre’s massive drawing power could make it a hit. It’s easy to understand that for Askren, it’s his only option for a comeback.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/13/2017.