Former Bellator and ONE Championship title holder Ben Askren will make his UFC debut in 2019 and claims there are only two suitable opponents for his first fight with the promotion.
Ben Askren joined the ESPN crew during last night’s UFC 230 broadcast where he discussed being traded to the UFC and who he will likely square off with in his first octagon appearance.
“Well I don’t know if you have been paying attention the news or not, but there’s been some big news this week.” Ben Askren said after joining Ariel Helwani and Chael Sonnen live on set at UFC 230. “I’m coming here (to the UFC). It’s the beginning of the ‘Funky’ era. So I figured I better put the whole welterweight division on blast, not only on Twitter but also on TV. Because listen, here’s what happened. Since I got signed, I went on Twitter and I called everyone out and they’re acting like an ostrich, putting their head in the sand. If they think that they can’t see me, then I’m not going to pull their card. Well that’s just not how it’s going down. I’m going to come here to the UFC and I’m going to tell everyone who I’m picking. Ok? And it might be Colby Covington. He hasn’t really said anything back to me. He has intellectual deficiencies that he does not want me to expose. He knows that if we get in a war of words, there ain’t know way in hell he’s winning that one. The next one I got was Nick and Nate Diaz. They didn’t say nothing on Twitter. I’m going to give those guys a pass. They are probably to high to even realize what is going on. So we will give them a pass on that one. So then there is Darren Till. This guy is running his mouth on Twitter and then listen, he got so scared that he moved up a division! He said I ain’t fighting welterweight no more, I’m going to go to middleweight. That is how scared Darren Till is. I mean I told him, ‘you don’t even have to come to America. I will come to London in March.’ They just announced the show, but Darren is like ‘Dude, I’m not a welterweight anymore because Ben Askren is in the division. So he’s gone.”
Ben Askren continued:
“The deal (with the UFC) is done. Pen has not been put to paper but everything has been agreed to. I’m happy, it was a very good deal. I can’t tell you that (the number of fights), but I will probably be here (in the UFC) for the rest of my career. I will likely retire with the UFC.”
When asked if he had his UFC debut fight lined up, Ben Askren responded with the following information.
“I don’t know that I can say that. I think that I do. I put the hook out there and I’m reeling one of these suckers in. The fight will be in 2019, as there is barely anytime left in 2018. When I said I was retired unless I get to fight someone ranked higher than me, I meant it. So there is (Stephen) Thompson, but Karate doesn’t work on me or there is Robbie Lawler. Now I don’t want to pick on Robbie Lawler, he’s a good guy and a nice guy, but I’ll fight him. Besides Woodley, we’ve been friends since we were 17, I’ll fight anybody.”
Who would you prefer to see Ben Askren fight first, Stephen Thompson or Robbie Lawler? Sound off PENN Nation!