UFC fans have been wanting Ben Askren to join the UFC for quite some time now. Well, it appears they are finally getting their wish. It is being reported by Ariel Helwani of ESPN that the UFC and ONE Championship are close to a deal that would send Askren to the UFC and Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship.
This kind of MMA trade is unheard of, and once it becomes official, Askren will have plenty of options for who he can fight in the UFC.
Here is a look at just three possible fights to make for Ben Askren in the UFC.
The former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion hasn’t fought since last year when he defeated Michael Bisping. There have been some reports Georges St-Pierre has interest in fighting again in 2019. Obviously, St-Pierre has stated he is only fighting for legacy now and doesn’t want to work his way up to a title. Well, a fight against Ben Askren ticks all those boxes.
The fight could happen at St-Pierre’s natural 170-pounds, and just be a fight to see who is the better fighter. St-Pierre and Askren have both called each other out, and with Askren expected to be in the UFC, it is a fight that just makes sense. Both fighters are high-level wrestlers and grapplers, while St-Pierre has also proven to be world-class in the striking department. It is a tough fight to call, and a fight most MMA fans would love to see.
It also is a perfect fight for the UFC. They can get St-Pierre to headline a show without him fighting for a belt and then vacating. Meaning, a fight between Askren and St-Pierre just seems too good to pass up for both the fighters and the promotion.
How about a fight between two seemingly unbeatable undefeated fighters?
Khabib Nurmagomedov is 27-0 and is the current lightweight champion of the world. Askren is 18-0 with one no contest. While both fighters have defeated some of the best in the sport, fighting each other would prove who the better fighter truly is.
Both Nurmagomedov and Askren are considered the best grapplers in all of MMA. It would be an interesting fight, as when either Askren or Nurmagomedov get a fighter down, the fight is pretty much over from there as the opposing fighter just can’t get up.
However, fighting each other, they both have the skills to defend takedowns and get up from being on their back — an interesting wrinkle that neither fighter has had to deal with yet in their careers as they typically just maul their opponents.
It is truly an interesting fight. If Askren does come out on top he adds to his legacy with the UFC’s lightweight title. While if Nurmagomedov wins, he proves he is arguably the best fighter in the world and maybe the best ever.
The outspoken Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington has been clamouring to fight Tyron Woodley for the welterweight title and ‘end his career’. However, another fight that could be on Covington’s mind is a fight against Ben Askren.
Askren has repeatedly called out Covington, saying he is a poor man’s version of himself. Since then, they have traded shots at each other.
This fight would be a big payday for Covington, while both have shown they have the ability to be quite good trash talkers. The press conferences leading up to the fight would be a back-and-forth affair of insults and jokes about the other fighter.
The fight itself would pit the undefeated Askren against one of the UFC’s best grapplers in Covington. Covington has shown the ability to out grapple the highest level of competition in Dong Hyun Kim, Damien Maia and Rafael dos Anjos. If Covington can come out on top, he shows the world just how good he actually is.
There is no question that Ben Askren has options in the UFC. After the stunning news earlier today, it all seems like a real possibility for Askren to fight all three of the names above and possibly more.
Thus far, the biggest knock on Ben Askren’s career is that he hasn’t fought the best of the best. Now he finally has a chance to prove just how good he is.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/24/2018.