Ben Askren Wants Darren Till for His UFC Debut, Willing to Fight Him in London

Ben Askren has been promised a top five opponent for his UFC debut and he's already singled out Darren Till as the person he'd like to fight

Ben Askren still has a little work to do before he can officially make his UFC debut but he’s already started thinking about his first opponent.

Askren was part of the blockbuster trade that saw him join the UFC in exchange for former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who is now part of the ONE Championship roster.

This week, Askren will fly to New York to meet with UFC executives to hopefully hammer out a new contract because his current deal with ONE Championship expires in just a few months.

Once that’s settled, Askren is ready to hit the ground running with designs on a top five opponent who he’s already managed to rile up during an exchange over social media.

“I’m hoping I get matched up with this Englishman named Darren Till,” Askren said on his podcast hosted by Rudis. “He just fought for the world title, he’s ranked No. 2. I had a little Twitter fight with him. I think he’s significantly overrated. I would like to fight him.

“I’m willing to go to London to fight him. So we will see what happens with that.”

Till, who was just recently submitted by welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, had teased that he might be moving to middleweight and then just recently said he was still considering fights at 170 pounds.

Askren trains alongside Woodley in Milwaukee so he played a big part in the training camp that helped him prepare for Till back in September.

Obviously, Askren feels like he would be a bad matchup for the outspoken British fighter and it seems like a fight between them would be a great way to introduce the former Olympic wrestler to the UFC audience.

In a perfect world, Askren has stated numerous times who he’d really like to fight in his debut but he already knows that’s not going to happen, which is why he’s turning his attention to Till.

“My No. 1 and 2 would be GSP [Georges St-Pierre] and Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and I know there’s no way in hell I’m getting either one of those two first round,” Askren said.

Assuming Askren gets his new deal inked with the UFC this week, the promotion could introduce him as early as Saturday night with UFC 230 taking place in New York.

From there it’s all about timing to get him booked in a fight and then prepare for his official UFC debut in 2019.



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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.