Former UFC welterweight Ben Askren feels it’s not out of the question that the UFC would consider getting Demetrious Johnson back from ONE in a trade.
Askren retired from MMA following a loss to Demian Maia in Oct. 2019. He unretired from combat sports for a boxing match against Jake Paul, losing via first-round knockout.
Askren is set to summarize his wild ride in fighting with his upcoming book entitled Funky: My Defiant Path Through the Wild World of Combat Sports. The book is available now anywhere where books are sold.
One of the most remarkable moments of Askren’s career came in the form of an unprecedented ONE/UFC trade for Johnson in 2018. Johnson, who had recently lost his UFC flyweight title, was sent to ONE in exchange for Askren.
Johnson has gone on to find success in ONE, having just recently regained the promotion’s bantamweight title. He finished Adriano Moraes with a flying knee at ONE on Prime Video 1 back in August.
While Askren is done competing, he remains a vocal presence in many MMA circles and has been paying close attention to recent fights. In light of the UFC flyweight division’s resurgence, he thinks the UFC could potentially boost the division’s talent even more in the form of its former king.
Ben Askren Feels Lightning Can Strike Twice With UFC/Demetrious Johnson Trade
During an exclusive interview with MMA News, Askren named a hypothetical trade for the UFC to re-claim Johnson.
“Petr Yan. I don’t think he wants to be there anymore, they should find some good trade material for him,” Askren said. “I think he wants to fight in ONE since he trains out of Thailand. I’m sure there’s somebody you can find in ONE, maybe they get Mighty Mouse back. That would be wild.”
Former UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan is allegedly unhappy with the UFC following a controversial loss to Sean O’Malley. According to Daniel Cormier, Yan feels the promotion doesn’t have his back and is considering a leave from the UFC.
Johnson is one of ONE’s biggest stars despite being 36 years old. He’s proven he can still compete against some of the top fighters in the world and look dominant in doing so.
Johnson and the UFC had an ugly divorce after a super fight with TJ Dillashaw didn’t come to fruition. The reasoning, according to Johnson, focused on the UFC’s reluctance to give him a share of Dillashaw’s purse had he failed to make 125lbs.
The UFC ended up booking him in a rematch against Henry Cejudo at UFC 227, losing via a split decision.
Johnson has also been a critic of the UFC’s pay model and how fighter pay is distributed amongst the roster.
Johnson may have just a few years left in his career. If the UFC wants to attempt to heal its at-times tense relationship with Johnson, Askren thinks the time is now.
Would a Petr Yan-Demetrious Johnson trade make sense?
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