The UFC has had its fair share of ‘what if’ scenarios throughout the years. What if Fedor Emelianenko had fought in the promotion when he was at his peak? What if Brock Lesner had gone straight into MMA, rather than becoming a Professional Wrestler? and of course, the big one, what if Conor McGregor actually defended a title belt?
Sure, the last one was just me bagging on Conor, but the other two are questions that’ll never be answered and will keep MMA fans dreaming for years to come. However, one of the more recent ‘what if’ questions might just get an answer.
Ben Askren (18-0) is an MMA fighter who has always alluded the UFC thanks to his less than friendly relationship with Dana White, with both being outspoken about the tension between them.
With Championship titles at both Bellator and ONE Championship, it is undeniable that Askren is one of the best the sport has to offer, outside the UFC.
Being a Welterweight, fans had been salivating at the thought of an Askren Vs GSP fight for a number of years. Even when GSP ‘retired’, there was always speculation of a big UFC money fight.
Sadly, Askren and White could never put water under the bridge and it looked like this would be yet another ‘what if’ question that would leave the fans dreaming.
Things looked even bleaker when the undefeated fighter was reportedly done with MMA, as he hung up his gloves after he successfully defended his ONE Welterweight Championship for the 3rd time against Shinya Aoki.
However in a strange turn of events, on Monday, a Twitter Follower asked him to put a percentage on the chances of him signing with the UFC in the near future. He responded, Via Twitter with “98%”.
Now, I know you’re sitting there scoffing in your chair, accusing Askren of just making noise and fooling followers. Well, how about I tell you that ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani reported that there has been some promising movement with negotiations between Askren and the UFC. Yeah, now is a better time than ever to get excited.
Ben Askren is such an elite fighter and with him being 34 years old, he’s still in the thick of his prime.
There are so many crazy matchups to be had for him if a deal is made, he’s looking to put that final stamp on his career, so I’d doubt that he’d fight just anyone and would demand a title shot straight away.
The chances of him fighting in the UFC’s Welterweight Division are slim though, as he and current Champion Tyron Woodley are training partners and have sworn not to fight one another.
That opens the door for a massive fight at Lightweight if he so chooses, as I’m sure there’d be a great interest in a title fight between him and Khabib.
I’ve got to tell you, that potential matchup is mind-blowing to me. Both are well renowned for their wrestling abilities and I think it’d be near impossible to pick a winner.
All we can do right now, as fans, is cross our fingers and hope that Dana White is nowhere to be seen during these negotiations.