Historic Trade in the Works Between UFC, ONE Championship Swapping Demetrious Johnson for Ben Askren
The UFC and ONE Championship may be finalizing a blockbuster trade — the first of its kind in mixed martial arts.
The UFC is reportedly working on a potential trade that would send former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship in exchange for former welterweight champion Ben Askren. The rumored trade was first reported during MMAJunkie Radio.
The deal is not done yet but sources have confirmed that talks are ongoing that would see the UFC and ONE Championship swap contracts for Johnson and Askren, who both have multiple fights left on their current deals with each promotion.
To add fuel to the fire, Johnson’s long time coach Matt Hume is an executive vice president with ONE Championship and it would seem that the longest reigning champion in UFC history would be a perfect fit for the Asia based organization.
ONE Championship heavily promotes their lighter weight divisions and Johnson would be another marquee name to add to the roster after just recently signing former UFC champion Eddie Alvarez to a long term contract.
Meanwhile, Askren has long coveted a chance to compete in the UFC where he would be tested against the best welterweights in the sport.
Askren is undefeated with title reigns in both Bellator and ONE Championship but his biggest and most notable wins came several years ago against fighters such as Douglas Lima and Andrey Koreshkov.
The former Olympic wrestler last competed in 2017 when he dismantled former ONE lightweight champion Shinya Aoki with a first round TKO in just 57-seconds.
Askren has been in talks with the UFC in the past but a deal could never be reached between the two sides. Askren has also remained at odds with UFC president Dana White over the years but just recently the former Missouri wrestler said there was approximately a ’98-percent’ chance he ends up fighting inside the Octagon.
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 22, 2018
Askren would be a huge addition to the UFC’s welterweight division, although he would not likely pursue a championship fight as long as Tyron Woodley is champion. Askren and Woodley are teammates under head coach Duke Roufus and both wrestled at the University of Missouri.
If this deal goes through, it would be the first of its kind between two major fight promotions.
Stay tuned for more information on this blockbuster deal as it becomes available.