The UFC and ONE Championship are currently finalizing the first major trade in MMA history, say ESPN sources.
Additional information revealed by ESPN reporter, Ariel Helwani, reveals that there is a proposed deal between the two fighting promotions to release former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, which will allow him to sign a contract with ONE Championship. The deal also includes a clause where former ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren will sign a contract with the UFC.
Ben Askren’s move has been widely anticipated for years now, but internal conflicts between the fighter and current UFC president, Dana White, stalled any potential deal. In recent weeks, however, rumors of a deal have been floating around social media, with Askren himself, being in the forefront.
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 22, 2018
Askren and Johnson still have fights on their contracts with ONE and UFC. Only recently ONE signed another former UFC champion, Eddie Alvarez. This made headlines as ONE’s biggest fighter acquisition yet. Alvarez revealed to ESPN that the contract was hard to pass on.
Johnson currently holds a record of 27-3-1 and only in his last fight lost his title to Henry Cejudo. The loss ended Johnson’s 13-fight winning streak, which included 11 consecutive title defenses. This streak kept the former champion as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC for several years.
Askren holds a record of 18-0 (1 no contest) and is currently retired. He announced his retirement in November 2017, however, he has been teasing his fans with a potential return.
Words: Kristiyan Stefanov | Sub: Lee Pearson