Despite the fact UFC President Dana White has made it clear that he’s not a big fan of the fighting style of free-agent welterweight Ben Askren, there really is no reason to deny him an opportunity to continue his career with the organization. The former Bellator champion is a perfect 12-0 in his career, and “Funky” has made it clear he wants his next challenges to come inside the Octagon. Askren, who’s not lacking in confidence, has already called out current welterweight champion Georges St.Pierre, and also expressed an interest in a fight against Rory MacDonald.
Askren is free to go where he wishes after Bellator officially parted ways with him, and the World Series of Fighting has already made him an offer. He was a dominant force with Bellator, winning the title in just his seventh fight against Lyman Good and successfully defended the belt on four occasions, including stoppages in his last two fights against Andrey Koreshkov and Karl Amoussou. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney cited Askren’s ridiculously successful one-dimensional style for being a main reason why they chose not to re-sign him once his contract expired.
White continues to stand by his assertion that Askren isn’t ready for the UFC just yet, and that he should compete next in the WSOF. That could very well be a case of posturing in a move to bring down Askren’s asking price. Askren, who’s felt like a pawn during this entire process, will reportedly meet in Las Vegas next week with UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
At this stage, there doesn’t seem to be any harm for the UFC to bring Askren on board. They don’t have to worry about getting into a bidding war with Bellator, and Askren would get the opportunity to back up his brash talk and be allowed to either sink or swim. While he’s not the most exciting fighter on the planet, he’s still tremendously good at what he does thanks to his dominant wrestling and outstanding cardio. No doubt with Askren’s cockiness, a number of UFC welterweights would welcome the challenge of handing him that first loss. It’s now up to UFC officials to make it happen, and they should.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports