If Ben Askren has been wondering what his official status with the UFC is, he shouldn’t wonder any longer. Following UFC 230, company president Dana White sang his praises while clearing the air on their contentious relationship.
White and Askren have traded barbs on social media over the years, leading Askren to recently question why the UFC, particularly White, had yet to mention his signing. Askren moved from ONE Championship to the UFC in the sport’s first blockbuster trade that saw former UFC flyweight champion go to ONE Championship. The Singapore-based fight promotion announced Johnson’s signing early last week.
While Askren has long talked about White hating him, the UFC president denied it.
“We just talked (backstage at UFC 230). (Askren) thinks I hate him,” White said at the UFC 230 post-fight press conference. “If I hated you, why would I do this deal? I’m the one who did this deal. I’m the one who came up with this deal. This was my idea. Why would I do this if I hated you so bad and didn’t want you to be here?”
After questioning why his signing hadn’t been officially noted yet, Askren last week on UFC Tonight expressed his excitement to finally get a chance to prove himself in the Octagon and be part of a history making move in mixed martial arts.
“This worked out fantastic. I mean, it’s part of history, the first trade ever,” said Askren. “The UFC, they traded the literal best fighter ever on planet Earth (Demetrious Johnson) to get a superstar, Funky Ben Askren. They better put me in a big, damn fight right away.”
White is right there with Askren on the excitement meter.
“I’m just as excited. In this sport, you find guys who, people believe they’re great or they believe they’re great. It’s very hard to go undefeated in this sport. I don’t care who you are, who you fought, it’s very hard to go undefeated,” White said.
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“When you have situations like this, I love bringing people in like him to find out if they really are. It’s incredible. It’s great. In my opinion, it was a great deal for me.”
Askren doesn’t yet have his first opponent inked, although he has a few ideas on whom he’d like to fight first, but rest assured, he will finally put his years of lording over the Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight divisions on the line when he brings his 18-0, 1 NC record to the Octagon.