Trades have never been heard of in the world of MMA. Until now, that is. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that ONE Championship and UFC are “close” to agreeing to a blockbuster trade. The trade would see former ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren be sent to the UFC, while former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson would be sent to ONE. For being the first ever trade in MMA, these are two incredible fighters to be involved.
Breaking: UFC, ONE Championship close to trade involving Demetrious Johnson and Ben Askren. Potential history in the making for MMA — https://t.co/HllP7dY0of
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 24, 2018
Ben Askren and Demetrious Johnson Trade
“Funky” holds an undefeated career record of 18-0-1. He is widely regarded as the best, or one of the top few, grapplers in all of MMA. He was a two time NCAA wrestling champion, a member of the United States 2008 Olympic wrestling team. And, he is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Askren was the Bellator champion for two and a half years, successfully defending his belt four times. After his contract was up, he made his way to ONE. He would win the title in his second fight with the promotion, and successfully defend it four times before retiring in late 2017.
Ben Askren almost went to UFC before, but the two sides ultimately never agreed to a contract. There have always been wonders about how top UFC fighters would fare in a fight with Askren. Recently, there have been two names thrown out there regarding potential fights with Askren. One is Georges St-Pierre, the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champions. The other is current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Askren has expressed interest in fighting Nurmagomedov, but says it would have to be a catchweight bout because he could not cut down to 155 pounds. If the trade is finalized, these dream fights can suddenly become a reality.
“Mighty Mouse” was the first and only UFC flyweight champion until August of 2018. After winning a tournament for the belt, he would defend it a record 11 times until eventually being dethroned by Henry Cejudo in a very close fight. Johnson is widely regarded as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters to ever set foot in the UFC octagon. So, some could say that it would be surprising to see him be traded away.
In ONE, there are a few fights that could be made with Demetrious Johnson. If they decide to let him fight for the title right away, he could take on current champ Geje Eustaquio in would we be an amazing fight. If they would like him to fight someone before fighting for the belt, Johnson could fight former champion Adriano Moraes. Both fights would be incredible, and a great way to welcome Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship.
A Trade in MMA?
Because it has never been done before, a trade occurring between two MMA promotions is a huge deal. Dream fights might not have to just be dreams anymore. This trade would set up fights in both promotions that fans have been wanting to see and would pay money to see. If other high profile trades like this take place in the future, even more dream fights could be made. Though trades are not a custom in MMA, they could be a great way for promotions to set up matches and bring in fighters that their fans would love to see.
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