By moving to the UFC, Ben Askren has opened the door to dozens of exciting new matchups, and he’s already started laying the foundation for some of those new fights. There is one matchup, however, that seems to be off the table: one with reigning UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, to remind, are frequent training partners at Roufusport in Milwaukee. The relationship they’ve developed inside the Milwaukee gym is strong enough that Askren assures he’ll simply never fight the reigning champion.
Askren shut down talk of a possible fight with Woodley on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Luke Thomas.
Ben Askren makes very clear his stance on potentially fighting friend, former college wrestling teammate and current training partner Tyron Woodley to @lthomasnews: "Me and Tyron aren’t fighting, it’s simple. We are not fighting. We are not fighting — no.” #TheMMAHour
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) October 29, 2018
“Me and Tyron aren’t fighting, it’s simple,” Askren said (h/t Marc Raimondi). “We are not fighting. We are not fighting — no.”
These statements confirm what most already suspected. Ben Askren will not be fighting for the title in his first UFC bout. At least not the welterweight title.
While some suspect he could soon battle Khabib Nurmagomedov for the inaugural 165-pound title, this remains rumor for the time being. It seems much more likely that Askren fights somebody like Darren Till in his first UFC bout. He’s recently swapped trash talk with the Brit, and even called him his “first victim” in a recent Instagram post.
Ben Askren last fought in November of 2017, when he scored a TKO win over Shinya Aoki in a superfight that was supposed to serve as the last bout of his career. With this win, he improved to 6-0 in ONE Championship, building on a legendary run as Bellator’s welterweight champion.
Who do you think the former ONE and Bellator welterweight champ will fight in his anticipated UFC debut?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/29/2018.