Former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight titleholder Ben Askren is scheduled for his second UFC appearance at UFC 239 on July 6, where he’ll battle fellow contender Jorge Masvidal. It’s conceivable that the winner of this clash will get the next crack at UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman — though that would mean Colby Covington would have to be skipped over once again.
Speaking to MMA Fighting recently, Ben Askren explained that he believes a win over Jorge Masvidal could very easily put him ahead of Covington in the welterweight contendership race.
“I think it is [possible],” Askren said. “I don’t think people are too into Colby’s schtick anymore. They realize it’s old, it’s washed up, it’s just not that exciting. The guy is doing one of these things where you sit out and wait for a title fight and that is something I will never, ever do.
“How long ago was Colby’s last fight? Last June? What is this mother—ker going to sit out for 16 months and expect to get a title shot? The only way to stay relevant in this sport is to stay in there and keep getting after it. So yeah, if I go beat up Jorge, I’m going to have a lot more momentum. And if “Marty” (Kamaru Usman) wants to make some money, I’m sure ‘Marty’ has a pay-per-view clause in his contract, you’re damn sure that I’m going to sell a whole bunch more pay-per-views against him than Colby would.”
“That’s a long time to sit out in your prime,” Ben Askren continued. “Colby had a minor surgery and then if you remember, Colby had the option to fight ‘Marty’ in January of this year and Colby said no and then Colby got burned on that whole deal.
“I don’t know why he keeps sitting out. He should have figured out that probably isn’t a great strategy and went to a different strategy.”
Whatever the case, Ben Askren knows that a win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 will propel him to the very top of the welterweight division.
“To prove I’m the best in the world is the one goal that I came back for because I was retired. I think this puts me closer to that,” he said. “I think the way the momentum is shifting, if I beat up Jorge Masvidal, I think there’s a good chance I get a title shot, and if not, I’m not very far away. I’m pretty darn close.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/18/2019.