Chael Sonnen explains why the UFC should have no regrets over trading Demetrious Johnson for Ben Askren

By Susan Cox - September 2, 2022

Chael Sonnen is explaining why the UFC should have no regrets over trading Demetrious Johnson for Ben Askren.

Ben Askren, Demetrious Johnson

It was almost four years ago that the UFC made a cross-promotion trade, sending Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship in return for Ben Askren. In 2018 the agreement was reached between the UFC and Singapore’s ONE Championship which saw the first trade between the two MMA promotions.

While this is past news, many fans debate to this day whether the UFC made the right decision in making the trade.

When Johnson won the ONE Championship flyweight belt, it created even more of a stir. It was just last Saturday, August 27th that Johnson defeated Adriano Moraes (20-4 MMA) by knockout at 3:50 of round 4, recapturing the title.

Demetrious Johnson, 36, (31-4 MMA) is considered by some the greatest mixed martial artist on all-time. ‘Mighty Mouse’ is the current ONE Flyweight Champion (135 lb).

Ben Askren, 38, (19-2 MMA) lost 2 of his 3 fights under the UFC banner. ‘Funky’ went down to defeat against Demian Maia (28-11 MMA) in October of 2019 and Jorge Masvidal (35-16 MMA) in July of 2019.

Chael Sonnen, UFC, heavyweight division

Chael Sonnen on YouTube

Chael Sonnen spoke on his ‘Beyond the Fight’ podcast about the trade and how he believes the UFC were the winners in their decision (h/t Sportskeeda MMA):

“Jorge Masvidal does not fight for BMF. We do not sell out Madison Square Garden. The history of Masvidal and Diaz specifically. The Rock, the biggest star in all of Hollywood, does not get into the cage and put a belt around somebody. All of that ties back to Askren.”

It is true that ‘Funky’ was undefeated prior to joining the promotion, but clearly had an impact on revenue following the Ben Askren vs Jorge Masvidal fight which ended 5 seconds into the first round by KO. That knockout loss for Askren, the fastest knockout in UFC history, pushed Masvidal to stardom back in 2019 at UFC 239.

Ben Askren retired from fighting in November of 2019, citing a hip injury as the primary reason for hanging up the gloves.

Do you agree with MMA analyst Chael Sonnen that the UFC made the right decision trading Johnson for Askren?

Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!

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Ben Askren Chael Sonnen Demetrious Johnson UFC