UFC President Dana White has not been shy about his disdain for former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren in the past. Yet Chael Sonnen believes the UFC President will come to love the American wrestler, who has finally joined the UFC roster. In fact, he thinks Askren is likely to become White’s favorite fighter.
“The ultimate irony, when this whole thing gets worked out between Dana and Ben Askren, is Ben Askren is going to become Dana’s favorite fighter, favorite guy that he has under contract,” Chael Sonnen said on his Beyond the Fight Podcast. “That’s the part Dana White doesn’t know.”
So why will Dana White come to love Ben Askren? Because Askren is down to fight anybody, anytime, anywhere — an attitude Sonnen feels is now very rare.
“Ben Askren will fight anybody, at any weight, any time, no argument,” Sonnen said. “He’s a true competitor, and that used to be a normal mindset. That used to be what Dana got to deal with. Now every time Dana has an idea and wants to do a fight, everybody comes in pushing back. The fighters push back. The media pushes back. The managers push back. You’ve got to have meetings, you’ve got to have sit-downs, you’ve got to have phone calls. It’s so hard to get any work done.”
Since he signed with the UFC, Askren has been relentlessly picking fights with his welterweight rivals on social media. And while some fans have found the former Bellator and ONE champ’s bellicose attitude a little bit grating, Sonnen reminds those fans of what Askren has had to deal with over the last few years.
“When Ben keeps calling guys out, I already know what’s going to happen,” he said. “Eventually you’re going to get annoyed. Don’t get annoyed. Don’t ever forget this. Ben Askren has been picked on for three years. For three years, the undefeated, two-division, multi-organization world champion has been the brunt of every joke, of every post — because everyone was safe. [UFC welterweights] could go out and challenge this guy. They could go out and talk trash about this guy. They’d never have to [fight him]. You never saw any of Ben’s opponents do that, before the fight or after the fight.”
“What you guys are seeing is him finally responding.”
Do you think Dana White is about to become a huge Ben Askren fan?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/20/2018.