HISTORY HAS JUST OCCURRED! Reports are coming in that the UFC and ONE Championship have agreed to a blockbuster “trade” that is the first of its kind and involves two superstars and is sure to shake up the Mixed Martial Arts world.
The deal will send the best flyweight of all time, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson to ONE Championship in exchange for one of the best men to never fight in the UFC until now, Ben “Funky” Askren.
Both fighters will be released from their contracts so they can sign with their new promotions. This seemingly came out of nowhere, so let’s take a look at what this means for the UFC and ONE, as well as the careers of Johnson and Askren.
ONE Championship Acquiring Mighty Mouse
Demetrious Johnson coming over to ONE is insane. The promotion has just finished the signing of “The Underground King” Eddie Alvarez, which at the time WAS their biggest ever signing, but with all due respect to Eddie, this completely overshadows him making the jump.
I’m still trying to fathom what is happening. Mighty Mouse is such a huge draw and is arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, so for ONE Championship to have this caliber of fighter coming over to perform, it’s immense.
Seeing the money that the promotion threw at Alvarez, I can only imagine the amount of money that they are ready to give to Mighty Mouse. This well and truly puts ONE Championship on the map for fans of MMA in North America.
Losing someone like Ben Askren hurts, but to be able to sign someone who has been considered the best fighter in the best promotion like Johnson, it’s an opportunity that you cannot pass up.
UFC Finally Nabbing Askren
The UFC have managed to grab one of their few white whales in the world of fighting. Many people tip Askren as one of the best ever, and we will now finally get to see him go up against the most popular welterweights in the world.
Ben Askren is a name like Fedor to people who are fans of the UFC but don’t really follow the sport outside of the promotion. Ben Askren is a big draw, and there is no doubt that his debut in the octagon is going to do NUMBERS, and we all know that the UFC loves them some big ratings.
It really does suck that Demetrious Johnson’s UFC tenure ends on a sour note, and hopefully, we will one day see Mighty Mouse reclaim his Flyweight throne inside the octagon, but Askren has mega-star potential that the UFC really cannot pass up on at this stage in his career, as this may be the only chance they have at signing Askren to a deal.
The UFC have a lot of fun matchups that they can potentially play around with, and it will be interesting to see how Askren will do against the stacked UFC roster, and if he can snag gold in yet another promotion.
What This Means for Demetrious Johnson
It is going to take a while to fully understand the magnitude of Johnson leaving the UFC. The man had been with the company since 2011 and was a face of the promotion for years.
Up until his controversial loss to Henry Cejudo at UFC 227, Mighty Mouse was the first and only UFC flyweight champion. He will now attempt to claim gold in ONE Championship, and you’d have to think he’ll be receiving a title shot right away against current ONE flyweight champ, Geje Eustaquio.
Obviously money plays a part in everything, and that has never been something that DJ has been vocal about during his UFC tenure. I’m sure that money will be no issue when it comes to the paychecks he will soon be receiving from ONE.
It never felt like DJ truly got the respect he deserved from the UFC, and that’s a shame. His and the companies relationship never seemed to be too rocky on the surface, but who knows what went on behind closed doors.
It’s now time for a new chapter in the book of Mighty Mouse. Demetrious Johnson will look to once again be a dominate force, just this time it will take place overseas and in front of a whole new audience. Prepare to witness greatness that not many men are capable of providing.
What This Means for Ben Askren
It isn’t going to feel real the first time that Ben Askren steps into the octagon. After multiple jabs online towards the UFC and Dana White, this signing never seemed possible, it just got announced and I still don’t think it’s possible.
Askren “retired” back after his fight against Shinya Aoki in November 2017. He then announced that he would be open for fights against elite caliber opponents, such as Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald. Who knows how often we will see the Funky one fight for the UFC, it seems like a miracle that we even have the chance to see it at all.
Askren, a former champion for Bellator as well as ONE, will now be able to step on a global stage and show the people what all the talk is about. The matchups are endless and the fact that we may see him go against Tyron Woodley is incredible, truly.
As I’m writing this, I have no clue what to think. I didn’t think you could make “trades” with other promotions, let alone trading two of the best to ever do it. This has just opened up a whole new world to MMA. Who knows what trades could come next, would Bellator, RIZIN and other bigger promotions want to get in on this action?
Thinking about other possible trades has me so excited and I cannot wait for what comes next.
P.S. PRIDE NEVER DIE