The first shot at new UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman is expected to go to his arch rival Colby Covington. That being said, after an ugly altercation with Covington, Usman’s manager Ali Abdelaziz is pushing for a fight with new UFC star Ben Askren instead.
Ben Askren, of course, has his eyes on UFC gold. Yet he says he won’t accept a title fight with Kamaru Usman until he’s spoken with the former champion, his good friend and training partner Tyron Woodley.
“I thought Colby and Marty was announced [Saturday] night,” Askren said, using his preferred nickname for Usman (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Look, listen, if Colby gets screwed again, I’ve got no issue with that. Colby is a jabronie. This was a path that I haven’t even gone down, because I didn’t really see a scenario where Tyron lost to Marty. So I hadn’t even started thinking this way. And now that he’s calling me out, I probably have to talk to Tyron a little bit and see where we go from there.
“I would consult Tyron first,” Askren added later. “But as long as he kind of gave his blessing, yeah. Of course [I’d fight Usman].”
While Ben Askren is of course hoping to capture the UFC welterweight title in the future, he’s also eyeing a fight with the winner of Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal’s upcoming UFC London showdown.
In Askren’s eyes, Till should come out on top in this matchup — though Masvidal could pull off the win if he’s on point on fight night.
“I think it’s a good fight,” Askren said. “I think Masvidal has the ability to beat Darren Till, but the best version of Jorge Masvidal doesn’t always show up. If the best version of Jorge Masvidal shows up, I think he’s got a decent chance of winning. But I think it’s more likely that Darren Till wins.”
Do you think we’ll see Ben Askren fighting for the UFC welterweight title this year?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/5/2019.