The UFC and ONE Championship are currently discussing a possible trade involving two former champions — Demetrious Johnson and Ben Askren.
While the deal is far from official, sources confirmed that discussions are ongoing that would see the UFC send Johnson to ONE Championship in exchange for Askren. News of the deal was initially discussed on MMAJunkie Radio and later reported by Yahoo Sports.
Johnson is the longest reigning champion in UFC history but his head coach Matt Hume serves as an executive vice president at ONE Championship and it’s not surprising that they’d want to work together in a different capacity.
Add to that, Johnson’s longtime teammate Bibiano Fernandez is the bantamweight champion in ONE Championship so he obviously has that relationship with the Asian based promotion as well.
As for Askren, the former two-time NCAA champion and Olympic wrestler has long been considered one of the best welterweight fighters in the world but he hasn’t faced top competition since he left Bellator and signed with ONE Championship.
Askren has engaged in talks with the UFC in the past but the two sides were never able to reach a deal. Askren has also butted heads with UFC president Dana White on more than one occasion so it seemed like a deal to bring him to the organization would never happen.
Just days ago, Askren answered a fan on Twitter asking him how likely it would be that he’ll ever fight in the UFC and he responded ’98-percent’, adding further speculation to this trade deal.
As of now the two sides are still discussing terms of the deal so nothing has been finalized but it certainly appears all parties involved want to make this happen.
Stay tuned for more information on this developing story as it happens.