It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from former Bellator boss Bjorn Rebney. He’s been quiet ever since it was announced he’d be working with the seemingly defunct Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) in 2016. Apparently, however, the former Bellator chief has been in contact with former Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren, who is now making waves in the UFC welterweight division.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, Askren divulged that he received a message from Rebney shortly after he submitted Robbie Lawler in his first UFC bout.
Apparently, Rebney gave Askren’s controversial finish of Lawler his seal of approval. Askren says the former Bellator boss also encouraged him to ramp up the trash talk — to fill the void left by Conor McGregor.
“Bjorn texted me after my last fight,” Askren told Helwani (transcript via MMA Mania). “He said, ‘Odd choice of starts, but that finish was rock solid, keep talking shit on everyone, all the time, everywhere. They don’t have the voice now that Conor was exposed. You fill that gap.’ I haven’t heard from him for like five years. Out of nowhere!”
After some talk of a potential rematch with Robbie Lawler, Ben Askren has now been booked for a showdown with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239. The winner of this fight could easily stake their claim to the next welterweight title shot.
Askren will enter this fight with a flawless, 19-0 record. Masvidal, on the other hand, is 33-13 overall, and most recently appeared in the UFC London main event when he knocked out Darren Till.
UFC 239 will be topped by a light heavyweight title fight between seemingly unbeatable champion Jon Jones and streaking challenger Thiago Santos.
Do you think Ben Askren can become the next Conor McGregor for the UFC?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/7/2019.