Undefeated UFC welterweight contender Ben Askren predicted Darren Till would defeat Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC London last weekend, and hoped to fight him soon thereafter. As we now know, this is not the way things went down, as Till was flattened by his opponent Jorge Masvidal.
In the wake of Till’s knockout loss to Masvidal, Ben Askren has been forced to reassess the options for his next fight.
He says he’s interested in a fight with Jorge Masvidal — but he’s not sure the feeling is mutual.
“I would love to fight [Masvidal], but like I said, you heard that post-fight speech, I think he’s trying to find reasons not to fight me,” Askren said on the UFC London post-fight show (transcript via MMA Fighting). “He’s talking about fight for the belt — prior to this fight, he had two losses in a row. You don’t go from losing two [in a row] to winning one and then all of a sudden you have a belt when there’s all these guys in front of you. It just doesn’t work that way.”
Ben Askren added that he’d also be interested in fighting Leon Edwards, who impressed him by defeating Gunnar Nelson in the UFC London co-main event.
“No one likes Colby,” he said, first taken an opportunity to bash top contender Colby Covington. “I don’t like Colby. I would love to skip over him and fight Usman [for the title], but it doesn’t seem like Usman wants that either. He’s not keeping that same energy, as the kids say. I would love to have him call me out. He didn’t. So, again, I thought Till was going to win tonight. I think we’ll go reevaluate. I’d love to fight Masvidal. I’d love to fight Leon Edwards.
“I would like someone [ranked] higher [than Edwards], but if that’s who they gave me instead, I would definitely say yes,” continued Askren. “What I was surprised about was his ability to do well in the grappling department. I thought that was the place that Gunnar Nelson had a huge advantage in, and Leon Edwards not only got takedowns, he controlled the position on top, he stuffed all of Gunnar Nelson’s takedowns.”
While Ben Askren seems pretty open to a number of possible matchups, there’s one he isn’t interested in: a rematch with Robbie Lawler, who he defeated with a controversial submission in his UFC debut.
“The first guy I asked [the UFC] for was Darren Till actually, and then they said how about Robbie Lawler,” Askren said. “I said, ‘Listen, I’m here to fight everybody, so if you want me to fight Robbie Lawler, I’ll fight.’ It didn’t take more than a phone call, right? I’ll fight Robbie Lawler, no big deal. But I didn’t want to. And so now I did it once and they want me to go do again. I just, I don’t see how that moves me farther up, and that’s where I want to go, I want to move farther up.”
Who do you want to see Ben Askren fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/17/2019.