Although Ben Askren is Bellator’s welterweight champ and unquestionably one of its most talented fighters, it looks like the free agent’s run with the promotion is coming to and end. It’s a surprising turn of events, considering not long ago Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney relayed the company hoped to resign the decorated wrestler.
Rebney recently spoke with ESPN.com’s Josh Gross about Askren, who entered free agency recently after beating down Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 97. Bellator’s CEO informed the outlet that “I don’t think we’re going to make an offer at this point,” and that further, “So I don’t see any reason to make anybody sit out.”
Dana White declared a few days ago that the UFC is interested in talking to Askren, which likely caught some people off guard, considering last April the ZUFFA exec referred to “Funky” as “the most boring fighter in MMA history.” In terms of the UFC, Rebney noted that he would “love to see Ben versus GSP” before adding:
“If the UFC does make an offer, we’ll take a look at it and move on from there,” Rebney said. “We haven’t been proactive yet. I have nothing but good things to say about Ben as a fighter, but we’re all very aware of how he fights and what he does. It’s not for everyone.”
While there’s no doubt Askren has his share of critics, the UFC has brought in other noted grapplers with similar narratives accompanying them, like for example, former Strikeforce champ Jake Shields. So, now it will be interesting to see if indeed the UFC makes a push for Askren, and further how he’ll be promoted. It is worth noting that before Askren stopped Koreshkov, he also recorded a TKO win over Karl Amoussou in January, after recording six straight decision victories.