Following Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone’s decisive win over ‘Platinum’ Mike Perry at UFC Denver earlier this month, the UFC veteran teased reporters that he would be heading back to lightweight and that the UFC already had a big fight lined up for him.
Posted only a short while ago via ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC and ONE Championship are close to finalizing what could be considered the first major trade in mixed martial arts history. As per multiple sources, a deal has been proposed in which the UFC would release former flyweight champion Demetrious ‘Might Mouse’ Johnson from his contract in order to allow him to sign with ONE. In exchange, ONE Championship will release former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren from his contract so he could finally join the UFC.
This is something that has came from basically nowhere and while it is still young in the MMA news at the minute, it is hard to really get our heads around it and properly understand as to what it will mean for MMA as we know it. Both are huge names within the MMA ‘die hard’ fan base, however they may not be favorable within the ‘casual’ fan base, particularly Askren who is fairly unknown to that kind of audience.
Sources say the “trade” isn’t finalized just yet, however, it has been discussed at length and is categorized by multiple sources as close to getting done. All parties involved are hopeful it will be finalized soon. On Monday, Askren tweeted that there was a “98 percent” chance of him joining the UFC, catching many off guard considering he has not exactly seen ‘eye to eye’ a few occasions with UFC president Dana White.
Johnson (27-3-1) recently lost the flyweight title to Henry Cejudo in August. The loss snapped his 13-fight winning streak, as well his record-breaking 11-fight successful title defense streak and saw him drop significantly in the UFC P4P Rankings. Following his win, Henry Cejudo has called for a super-fight with 135 pound champion TJ Dillashaw. As a result of this and the recent rumours of the creation of a 165 pound division, this makes all the more sense for the deal to take place.
It is also worth noting, Matt Hume, Johnson’s head coach at AMC Pankration in Kirkland, Washington, also serves as ONE’s vice president of operations.
For anyone who isnt familiar with Ben Askren, he is 18-0 and has held the welterweight belts in both Bellator and ONE Championship. While he is one of the very best grapplers in the world, people have always questioned the level of competition he has faced. However, he has dominated top fighters such as Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov and Shinaya Aoki. Askren has also competed as Olympic level and was also Pan-American and United States champion in Freestyle Wrestling.
It is clear to anyone that has followed MMA both in and outside that both these fighters are very special and among the very best in the world. This is a deal that favours all four parties involved and one that will very much be a positive for both fighters, both in monetary gain and for their legacy. It will be very exciting to see how this plays out and I for one am very much excited about finally seeing Ben Askren in the UFC, taking on the best such as Georges Saint-Pierre, Khabib Nurmagomedov etc.
With just two days to go until UFC 229, reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former two weight UFC champion Conor McGregor will join UFC President Dana White at the Park Theater in Las Vegas for one final press conference.
Unlike their previous press event, this one will be open to the public and with both fighters in the midst of their respective weight cuts, it promises to be an extremely lively affair.
Over the last 24 hours, UFC President Dana White has been faced with an almost unprecedented amount of backlash from the MMA community following the announcement that a flyweight title contest between Valentina Shevchenko and Sijara Eubanks would be the main event for UFC 230 in New York.
If you thought Conor McGregor was going to sail into the sunset following his UFC 229 fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, you had better think again.
The mercurial Irish star has signed a new six fight deal with the UFC, including his new Proper Twelve whiskey brand as an in octagon sponser for every event he fights at.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has received a 15 month suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The suspension is pre-dated to begin immediately after he tested positive for Turinabol, meaning Jones is nearing the end of his suspension with “time already served”.
Season two of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series has come to a close and once again we have been treated to a tremendous summer of fights to dwindle away our Tuesday evenings. Over the duration of eight weeks, 33 of the 40 scheduled bouts ended before the judges were called into play, smashing last seasons record of 25 finishes. As we know, Dana White cannot sign every fighter who wins to the ever growing roster of the UFC, but a staggering 23 fighters where handed immediate contracts and others have been called up on short notice opportunities. In this article we will take a look at the 23 fighters who won contracts directly after the show, and I have even been fortunate enough to catch up with some of the fighters for a quick interview to see how they are feeling after achieving the dream of every mixed martial artist on the planet!
Yesterday, UFC President Dana White sat down with entrepreneur, Tony Robbins to discuss all things business. They covered a multitude of topics including a few questions asked by the audience. Continue reading “What You May Have Missed: Highlights from Tony Robbins’ Dana White interview at the Business Mastery event”
The self proclaimed most violent man in the UFC is at something of a cross roads in his career.
Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (29-6-0) is once again a free agent, having fought the final bout of his contract against Dustin Poirier in Calgary last month and UFC President Dana White would be happy to see “The Underground King” move on if he decided it was The right thing to do at this stage of his career.
Despite cruising his way to a dominant victory Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland was not given a UFC contract by president Dana White. Despite Holland’s best efforts, Will Santiago was able to cling on as the fight when to the judges to confirm that Holland was the superior fighter on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. I have been fortunate enough to catch up with the man himself to see his thoughts on what the future holds for one of the brightest prospects at 185 pounds.