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Joe Rogan willing to ‘help’ Dana White and Ben Askren come to terms for UFC deal

Joe Rogan still hopes to see “Funky” in the Octagon one day.

UFC 220: Makhachev v Tibau Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ben Askren is retired, but Joe Rogan still wants to see the ONE Championship welterweight champion in the UFC one day.

The longtime UFC color commentator offered Tuesday on his podcast, JRE MMA Show, to sit down with both UFC president Dana White and Askren to help mend fences and negotiate a UFC deal for “Funky.”

“I’ve talked to [White] about [signing Askren] in the past,” Rogan said. “I think if Ben and him sat down and I could be there, maybe I could help. I’d do that. I’d 100 percent be willing to do that.”

Askren, a former Bellator champion, has long been considered one of the best welterweights on the planet, but he has never competed in the Octagon. That’s because White has refused to sign him, supposedly due to a lack of competition on Askren’s résumé.

In late 2013, after being granted his Bellator release, Askren nearly signed with the UFC. He met with promotion officials and it appeared that a deal was inevitable, but the UFC showed a disinterest last minute.

So, Askren instead signed with ONE Championship, where he had seven fights between April 2015 and November 2017 and held the title for over three years. The Roufusport fighter retired after his most recent win, a quick TKO of Shinya Aoki.

Askren has said he will only come back to MMA should he be given the opportunity to prove he’s the best welterweight in the world. He recently predicted that he’ll fight former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre in late 2019.

Rogan said Askren is “underutilized” and “not appreciated” as a fighter. To him, as a fan, it makes all the sense in the world to add Askren to the UFC roster.

“For me, it’s a no-brainer,” Rogan said. “You want to see the best versus the best, and he’s been able to do weird sh-t to people. ... He’s f—king super articulate, super smart, f—king great guy.”

Rogan admitted, however, that he isn’t a promoter for a reason. He thinks what Askren has to offer would sell to a UFC audience, but can’t guarantee that.

“I don’t know jack sh-t about promotion,” Rogan said. “I could be wrong. I might just be such a purist that I want the best to fight the best so much that I don’t give a f—k what it looks like.”

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