UFC President Dana White has showed a disinterest in signing Bellator welterweight champion “Funky” Ben Askren, saying “As far as [Ben Askren], as far as the level he’s on? He barely beat Jay Hieron, you know? He’s got some work to do, he can fight in another organization and work his way up and go from there.”
Askren though, said “[White] said he was interested two months ago, nothing had changed. We will see what happens.”
Askren has been a dominant champion in the Bellator promotion, going undefeated and defending the welterweight title four times consecutively. He was an NCAA Division 1 All-American, a 2008 Olympian, and the 12-0 Bellator champion.
Because of these credentials, Askren believes he will be an asset to the UFC’s welterweight division.
“Dana’s a businessman, so I’m sure he sees the value that I can bring to the organization because they haven’t brought in a high-level 170-pounder in a while, so I think it would bring a lot of new and exciting match-ups to the division,” Askren said.
Askren has stated that he would like to fight for an immediate title shot in the UFC, but said that he would accept a fight with another top level opponent.
“If they offer me someone else good, [Carlos] Condit, [Jake] Shields or whoever, I’m good with that. Obviously, I don’t want to have to fight a couple of scrubs,” he said.
Askren’s management recently sent paperwork to the UFC confirming his release, and corroborated Bellator’s decision to not match any offers from other promotions.
Askren said he was surprised when Bellator made the decision to let him go after finishing his current contract, saying, “I think it’s a situations where both sides win; they don’t have to waste time with a long, drawn-out negotiation with me.” Askren said. “They can get on and crown a new champion, and I can go my way and try to negotiate my own contract, I think this is a good move for both parties.”
“It’s always in my mind that I want to be the No. 1 fighter in the world, and however I can accomplish that, I’ll accomplish that,” Askren said.Tags: Bellator, bellator news, Ben Askren, Bjorn Rebney, Dana White, mma, MMA NEWS, Olympics, ufc, ufc news