Former Olympic wrestler Ben Askren was 13-0 heading into the ONE welterweight world championship. He won that, and successfully defended it five times before retiring in 2017.
However, he remained under contract with ONE, and in a highly unusual move, was traded to ONE for Demetrious Johnson.
Askren won his UFC debut vs. Robbie Lawler via submission in Round 1, then lost a to Jorge Masvidal via the fastest KO in league history, got put to sleep by Demian Maia, and then retired again.
On a recent episode of his Funky and FRB podcast, Askren discussed what it would take for him to return.
“So here’s the deal: I would never make like full-fledge, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go fight, I’m gonna chase the title.' But I love combat. I enjoy wrestling. I enjoy fighting," said Askren. "So yeah, if someone said, ‘Here’s some money, go fight one time. Here’s the right opponent, let’s have some fun.’ I probably would, you know?”
“I feel like I’m gonna have to do something to make sure I don’t get too heavy. So I’m gonna have to compete in some way, shape, or form, might as well get paid for it. So I don’t see why not. And obviously, I’ve told you the UFC has expressed interest in giving me another fight but dude, my hip is so bad. So yeah, in a year or so.”
Marc Raimondi reported for MMA Fighting in April of 2016 that Askren's ONE contract had six fights remaining, and that he planned to retire thereafter. Askren fought four more times leading up to the trade. Both promotions agreed to mutually release the two fights from their respective exclusive)contracts, so they could sign new agreements with the other promotion. Thus, Askren fought in the UFC under a new contract, the details of which as not known.
So it is not known whether or not "Funky" is a free agent. Given the UFC's history and the remark about another fight offer, he likely isn't, so, UG, if he returns for a one-off, who on the roster would you like to see him fight?