ONE boss: Askren vs. UFC champ would solidify 170 G.O.A.T. status
The greatest heavyweight in mixed martial arts history, Fedor Emelianenko, never had a fight in the UFC. ONE Championship welterweight champ Ben Askren is 18-0 and retiring after his next fight, vs. Shinya Aoki at ONE Championship 65: Immortal Pursuit on November 24. ‘Funky’ will close his career without a single fight in the UFC, but never the less, he could be the best welterweight in the world.
During a recent ONE 65 media call, league owner Chatri Sityodtong argued that a fight with the UFC champion would solidify Askren as division G.O.A.T. That becomes even more unlikely, however, as Askren is friends with UFC champ Tyron Woodley, so it would have to be vs. the next champion, and that could take a while. Still, Askren has said he would take one more fight for a huge opportunity, and a UFC title fight would be that.
“If you ask experts in the martial arts world – like myself who has been doing martial arts for over 30 years – the people who are in the know in America and around the world know that Ben Askren is the single best welterweight on the planet,” said Sityodtong, as transcribed by Peter Carroll for MMA Fighting. “I would love to see UFC vs. ONE Championship welterweights go at it. Ben is also a great friend of the family and a good friend of mine as well. Anyone other than Tyron, I would love to see that as Ben’s final match, against the UFC welterweight champion.
“Again, if you ask experts from the martial arts community – anyone in the know – they’ll tell you that Ben is the best welterweight in the history of the sport.
“I have personally seen Ben in training destroy UFC champions. I’ve seen him do that to BJJ world champions. Ben is a monster. He will go down as the greatest welterweight in history, especially if we’re able to get a matchup with a UFC champion other than Tyron.”
“A few month ago UFC threw an event in Asia and some of the things they said in the media over here were inaccurate and some were blatantly false. I felt the need to defend my athletes, whether it’s Ben Askren, Shinya or Angela Lee – they are among the greatest martial artists on the planet, if not the greatest in their individual divisions.
“I think UFC has done an amazing job in the western hemisphere with their formula and I think that we have done an amazing job in the eastern hemisphere with our formula.
“There is a global market, just like with any other industry with Apple and Samsung, General Motors and Toyota or Amazon and Alibaba. There is UFC and ONE Championship and they control their respective hemispheres.”
Upon his retirement, Askren will continue with ONE in an executive role.