‘Moved on,’ Ben Askren looking to help ONE FC grow and hoping for quick title fight


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

As best he can, Ben Askren is trying to get over it.

“It” doesn’t need much of an introduction these days. It’s already been dragged up and down and all around, and both sides have fired off some choice words.

But for the uninitiated, Askren left Bellator MMA as a free agent, vacating his welterweight title. Most thought he was a slam dunk to sign with the UFC. But after a meeting, that didn’t happen. Instead, the 2008 Olympian and four-time NCAA All-American wrestler signed a two-year, six-fight deal with ONE FC.

“I’ve moved on,” Askren (12-0) told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve accepted what’s happened, and I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen in the future. … I’m not a begging person; that’s fine. I understand you don’t want me, and I’ll go on my way and help another organization succeed.”

Through 13 total events, the Asia-based ONE FC has brought in some solid names over its 28-month existence and built a few new stars in Asia, as well. But Askren will arguably be its biggest standout yet when he first steps in for the promotion.

In fact, in ONE FC’s 13 total cards, it has put on just 16 welterweight fights. So Askren is realistic about what he’ll be doing for the promotion. Signing with the UFC would’ve had him fighting the world’s best 170 pounders. That won’t be the case in ONE FC.

“Obviously there’s not a lot of highly ranked people over at ONE FC, so I would say every fight I have, that’s really all you can do is win the fights that are put in front of you,” Askren said. “Obviously I wasn’t given an opportunity to face the best guys in the world because of politics and no fault of my own.”

So Askren’s new goal in MMA will be to help his new home become bigger and better.

“I’d really like to help ONE FC expand their global brand,” he said. “I know a lot of people in the organization, and I think they’re awesome. I think they have a great thing going and are going to do a lot of good things in the future. So getting to help them grow, it’s going to help me. So those would be my two goals in MMA.”

ONE FC doesn’t yet have a welterweight champion. A bout between Adam Kayoom and Nobutatsu Suzuki planned for November’s “ONE FC: Warrior Spirit” show fell through when Kayoom was injured. Then his replacement, Vitor Pinto, wasn’t medically cleared for the title fight.

Askren believes he might go right into a championship fight, though nothing has been booked just yet for his debut with the promotion.

“Hopefully I get a title shot fairly soon – obviously I think I deserve it,” he said. “In my first or second fight, I would hope I’d be fighting for (the title).”

Askren made not know who that will be against, but he’s not planning it being against Phil Baroni, one of a handful of American veterans who have fought under the ONE FC banner. He’s 1-2 for the promotion, and lost to Suzuki in May.

Baroni has called Askren out, saying he’ll gladly welcome him to ONE FC. But that’s a fight Askren is far from keen on. Baroni, a UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce veteran, has lost four of his past five and seven of his past nine.

“He’s lost his last two fights. He hasn’t won in a while,” Askren said. “He’s just not very good in general. He hasn’t been good for a long time, and he’s really desperate to get a fight. He’s trying to pick one with me. Maybe if he wins a couple, then he can challenge me for the belt I’m going have shortly, then we could go.”

So Askren waits to hear his first assignment. And in the meantime, he won’t be far from bumping into the UFC brass. Next week in Georgia, he plans to be in the corner of Roufusport teammate Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 35, and the following week in Chicago, he’ll be cornering teammates Sergio Pettis and Pascal Krauss at UFC on FOX 10.

And after his two-year deal with ONE FC is up, he’s not ruling anything out. Despite the tension between him and the UFC, he’d be open to talking again down the road.

“We’d have to see. It would be an interesting scenario,” he said. “We’ll just see what happens as the future plays out.”

For more on ONE FC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 25 days ago
  • 26 views

Featuring Ben Askren, Shinya Aoki, and more! ONE FC will visit the Middle East for the first time on August 29th with a blockbuster event at the Dubai World Trade Centre, which will feature an unprecedented four title bouts with Shinya Aoki, Nobutatsu Suzuki and Koji Oishi all set to defend their belts. Aoki (35-6) will take on seasoned Iranian wrestler Kamal Shlaorus (9-3-2), Suzuki (11-1-2) will go up against former Bellator 170-pound champion Ben Askren (13-0), and Oishi (25-9-10) is likely t more

  • 25 days ago
  • 31 views

ONE FC on Thursday announced a blockbuster four-title-fight card for Aug. 29 in Dubai. The championship bouts include Shinya Aoki and Ben Askren. more

  • 15 days ago
  • 38 views

One Fighting Championship’s lightweight title fight between reigning champ Shinya Aoki and challenger Kamal Shalorus is now official. more

  • 14 days ago
  • 34 views

Like Obi Wan said, "Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time..." Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans haven't seen former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight Roger Huerta for over two years. Probably because it took him that long to wake up from one of the nastiest soccer kicks in the history of the sport (see it again here). But time heals all wounds. The 31-year-old Huerta (21-7-1, 1 NC), just 1-6 over his last seven, has been paired off against undefeated newcomer Christian Holle more

  • 12 days ago
  • 56 views

ONE FC will crown its inaugural flyweight champion at ONE FC 20 in September.Filed under: News more

  • 28 days ago
  • 36 views

Undefeated Brazilian prospect Leonardo Leite has signed a deal with Legacy FC, and he will debut in a title fight. Unbeaten in MMA, the jiu-jitsu and judo specialist will make his promotional debut in a five-round fight against Myron Dennis in September, Legacy FC promoter Mick Maynard confirmed to MMAFighting.com on Monday. The light heavyweight showdown will headline the Legacy FC 35 card in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Brazilian Top Team product Leite made his transition to MMA in 2013 with a first-round more

  • 27 days ago
  • 54 views

Undefeated welterweight Ben Askren is not convinced that soccer is a sport that parents should consider for their sons. Ben Askren is clearly not a fan of soccer. The former Bellator welterweight champion had some harsh criticism about the World Cup and the athletes that participate in it. He was particularly appalled with the amount of "faking" taking place in matches, deeming it unmanly. "I’m not really a soccer fan. I understand they have skill and all that running up and down the pitch and w more

  • 27 days ago
  • 52 views

Road FC 16 is set for the South Korean city of Gumi on July 26 and will be headlined by a flyweight title fight with Nam Jin Jo and Song Min Jong competing for the inaugural 125-pound belt. more

  • 25 days ago
  • 32 views

ONE FC will make its first trip to Dubai in August, and the card will feature four championship fights. Lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will put his title on the line against Kamal Shalorus, while welterweight champion Nobutatsu Suzuki takes on former Bellator kingpin Ben Askren in a five-round bout, ONE FC announced Thursday. ONE FC 19 takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE, on August 29. The promotion has yet to announce the other title fights. Aoki (35-6, 1 no-contest) put more