After demolishing Japanese MMA veteran Shinya Aoki at ONE: Immortal Pursuit, Ben Askren rode his funky train into the sunset, retiring from MMA for good. …Or maybe not. Freshly-retired Askren took to Twitter to plant the seed of a possible return fight with Georges St-Pierre. If you think this opens the door to a bunch of other potential match-ups, you’re wrong. For Askren, it’s either the “best in the world” or he’s happy to move on to a new chapter outside of the cage.
“I’ve never said I’m retired, period. I’ve said that I’m retired with the caveat that if I somehow get to fight to prove that I’m No. 1 in the world, I will take that opportunity. I’m not gonna fight to be No. 3 or 5 or 7 or anything else. Just to be No. 1, that’s it. It’s not really a money thing, it’s a pride thing. There’s this other guy who was a very famous welterweight named Georges St-Pierre who doesn’t seem to have a dance partner right now and doesn’t seem to want to fight Tyron [Woodley] or Robert Whittaker. So I figure, he doesn’t want to get hit hard, I don’t hit that hard. So we might as well just get in there and get after it.“If he needs a dance partner, I’m more than willing to do it. I’ll come to Montreal and fit the bill for him. We’ll fill out the Bell Centre.”
@GeorgesStPierre how’s the spring weather in Montreal? I hear it’s a nice time to test your true Martial Arts skills
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) November 25, 2017
“Here’s the deal on the Rory [MacDonald] thing — and who knows, maybe he wins the next six fights and this changes — but here’s exactly what’s gonna’ happen and this already happened with [Shinya] Aoki. I already beat up Aoki, everybody says he’s over the hill and he sucks. If I beat Rory MacDonald, everyone says he’s not the same as he was before the Robbie [Lawler] fight. That’s what every single person says. I will not get the credit for it if I beat him. That’s why I want to be very clear. I want whoever I fight to be the No. 1, so there’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. Here’s the No. 1, I fight him, I beat him, I’m No. 1. That’s all she wrote.” — Ben Askren on The MMA Hour.
With Tyron Woodley not an option due to their friendship, the only other option other than Georges St-Pierre would be Rory MacDonald if he were to win the Bellator welterweight championship. Despite having wins over both the current UFC welterweight champ and the last contender Demian Maia, Askren argues that coming back to fight MacDonald back in Bellator would just be met by criticism from the armchair commentators. For now, it looks like it is St-Pierre for a UFC superfight or Askren is content to remain retired.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/28/2017.