The MMA world was turned upside down this week when reports started circulating that the UFC was working with ONE Championship to exchange Demetrious Johnson for Ben Askren.
While the technical term of it being a “trade” is the easy way to explain it, all sides in this matter would have to be in agreement for it to take place. Not quite the same like in other professional sports where athletes can be dealt on a whim by teams.
But, is this the right thing for the UFC to do? Or are they opening a can of worms that might be exploited by others in the near future?
For now, with Johnson having aired his personal grievances against the UFC, and the promotion needing more contenders in the welterweight division, the deal makes sense.
Johnson, who ruled the flyweight ranks for several years before falling to Henry Cejudo, wanted an immediate rematch. He was told that wasn’t in the cards, and we haven’t heard much from “Mighty Mouse” sense. Why would someone as dominant as Johnson not be given that fight?
It pretty much shows that the promotion has no interest in using flyweights. Henry Cejudo, the reigning champion, is expected to face TJ Dillashaw for the bantamweight belt in early 2019. Thus, the end of 125 pounds in the UFC.
As for Askren, he elected to retire unbeaten as the ONE champion after a successful run in Bellator. He has continued to speak out about his desire to face the best of the best via social media, and now, he has that chance.
Askren vs. Georges St-Pierre? Asken vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov? Askren vs. teammate Tyron Woodley? Heck, Askren vs. Colby Covington are all bouts that would draw quite a bit of interest.
What will next few days show? We will have to wait and see…..