ONE Championship and the UFC made some MMA history recently with the first ever fighter ‘trade’. The trade saw an exchange between former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and former ONE welterweight champion, ‘Funky’ Ben Askren.
With the trade now in the rearview mirror and each fighter with their expected debuts mapped out, ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong doesn’t think it will be the last MMA trade we’ll see.
The ambitious Sityodtong made his prediction during a recent conference call (via MMAFighting).
“There’s a lot of discussions going on globally, that’s all I’ll say. For sure, this historic first trade ever in MMA history has sparked up a lot of discussions globally with all the major organizations. So if I had to predict, I don’t think this will be the last time it happens, which is great for the fans, the organizations, and the athletes. I think it’s something new that’s unprecedented that will cause great positive impact globally.”
As for the immediate futures of both fighters that have found their ways to new homes, ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson will be partaking in the eight-man ONE flyweight title Grand Prix which will take place in early 2019.
Askren’s promotional debut for the UFC will also come at the beginning of the new year as he’s expected to face Robbie Lawler at UFC 233 in Anaheim, California on January 26.
Sityodtong believes that the transition is a definite win-win situation for each fighter.
“I think everybody wins. I genuinely believe that ONE Championship wins. I genuinely believe the UFC wins. I genuinely believe Ben Askren wins. I genuinely believe DJ wins. I think in this situation everyone is really happy because for ONE Championship we get the number one pound-for-pound greatest mixed martial artist in history, and his style and who he is as a person is going to resonate very well in Asia.
And Ben Askren going to the UFC, he’s going to prove that he’s the best in the world and he’s going to dominate. His style is also something that’s very appreciated by American fans, so I think everyone wins.
We are in multiple discussions with multiple athletes, that’s all I can say. Stay tuned for more big announcements.”
In reference to other big announcements being made, prior to the trade, ONE acquired former UFC and Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez in free agency. Following the trade, Miesha Tate was brought in as a new Vice President.
Sage Northcutt has seemed to be the likely next acquisition, but nothing has yet to be confirmed since Northcutt’s attendance at ONE: Heart of the Lion.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/18/2018