There have been multiple amazing fighters in MMA that have never fought for the UFC. Atop the list of them for many is Ben Askren.
There was once a time where the undefeated former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight king looked to have a solid shot at making his way to the grandest stage in MMA. However, after some back and forth with the boss Dana White himself, things never really came together and Askren took his talent over to Asia.
Now semi-retired at 18-0, Askren has nothing left to prove except for that he has been the very best welterweight on the planet this whole time regardless of whether he was in the UFC or not. Which is the reason for the use of the word ‘semi’ when it comes to him being retired.
Askren still wants to test himself against the very best and that will be in the UFC. And despite their bitterness towards one another in the past, White told the UFC Unfiltered podcast recently that he is still indeed open to working with the ‘Funky’ one.
“Ben Askren is under contract [with ONE Championship]. Ben Askren hit me up a few months ago and said, ‘What are the odds we can talk about me getting into the UFC? And I said, ‘We can absolutely talk about it.’
And I said, ‘You need to send me a letter before I even talk to you, or meet with you, or do anything. I need a letter saying that you’re a free agent and that you’re able to…whatever’. And he’s not a free agent. He’s not a free agent. He’s under contract with ONE, and he’s gonna have to go fulfill his contract with them.”
Amid his semi-retirement now, Askren expressed interest in taking up a new non-fighting role with ONE where he has for now…finished his career. Meaning he should indeed still be under contract unless things have privately changed in the recent months since he had his last fight in November.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/7/2018