Former Bellator MMA welterweight champion Ben Askren may fight in the UFC one of these days, but UFC President Dana White just doesn’t believe it’ll happen soon.
So White, who met with Askren earlier this week in Las Vegas, has a recommendation for the former NCAA Division I national wrestling champion and Olympic wrestler: sign with World Series of Fighting.
Bellator, which recently released the undefeated fighter, simply didn’t provide enough quality competition, according to White. However, he thinks the Vegas-based WSOF, which hosts its seventh event on NBC Sports Network next week, could provide the top free agent what he needs.
“I wasn’t even going to say this, because it sounds like I’m just s—ting on them, but there’s just no competition for him over at Bellator,” White told MMAjunkie. “There’s competition for him at World Series of Fighting. This kid will probably sign with them. I don’t know (since) they’ve got to come to an agreement and a deal. But if he does, there’s actual competition for him there.”
Askren (12-0), who’s ranked No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, wasn’t exactly fighting scrubs in Bellator. Recent opponents have included the likes of Andrey Koreshkov, Karl Amoussou, Douglas Lima, Jay Hieron and Nick Thompson, all of whom are arguably UFC quality (or have previously fought in the UFC). None came close to stopping Askren, whose dominant ground game has stifled an array of opponents.
Still, White apparently wants to see more, and he thinks WSOF – which boasts a solid 170-pound division with the likes of reigning champ Steve Carl, recent signee Rousimar Palhares, former UFC title challenger Jon Fitch, resurgent vet Josh Burkman and others – could provide it.
“There’s actual competition for him there,” White said. “I think it’s crazy that he’s ranked in the top 10. He hasn’t fought anybody and has no challenges. The best thing that could’ve ever happened to that kid was leaving Bellator. Now he has the opportunity to go to World Series of Fighting and show what he’s got.”
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