For the most part, Ben Askren will always be inextricably linked to Demetrious Johnson in a “trade” that shocked the world. It’ll be hard to get over in many ways, not just for the action DJ brought, but for what it meant to the division. For his part, Askren is doing what he can to help fans move forward with great quotes, and potentially great success.
Ben Askren talked with the media at UFC 230 this past weekend and had plenty to say: from the Johnson trade, to a great deconstruction of Colby Covington’s “act.”
The first question he addressed was “why now?”
“It’s just funny because I think a long time back I was not a fan favorite at all, and now people have followed my journey, have seen the struggle, and the perseverance I’ve had, and they can relate to that. They love it, and they want to see what happens next.”
No discussion about Askren’s journey could be complete without talking about his relationship with Dana White. Many fans might not remember this, but 10 years ago Dana White got mad at Sherdog for an article by Jake Rossen, questioning White’s 10-year plan. In response, Dana had this to say.
Needless to say, Askren has never been Dana’s biggest fan. The irony of it all goes without saying, but Askren isn’t interested in maintaining any ‘beef.’
“I don’t hold grudges. I’m open to clearing anything up we’ve had in the past. If he doesn’t want to be friends, I can make him some money, and he can give me some good fights then we can be mutually beneficial to each other.”
Along the hierarchy of questions for Askren, the next was about the moves that sent Johnson to ONE. “DJ wanted to go. This all started snowballing at his request.”
Askren knows he has work to do, first and foremost. His teammate Tyron Woodley sits atop the welterweight division, but he’s gone on record as not wanting to fight him, so Askren famously has a list.
“I’ll kick the whole division’s ass,” Askren said. “There are so many bums in this division I want to beat up. Colby is number one on my list. I don’t know if you guys got that on camera, but he’s got that gimmick infringement. He just takes the lowest common denominator of everything, and then does that because he can’t think of his own material. It’s so pathetic.”
He’d like to fight Georges St-Pierre too but to quote Askren, “George won’t even answer Twitter let alone get in the cage.”
No word yet on who Askren will fight for his debut, but one of Robbie Lawler, Stephen Thompson, and Darren Till are good bets.