Ben Askren to UFC video

29 October 2018

Ben Askren has taken aim at just about every welterweight on the UFC roster. Except for one glaring omission — the champion Tyron Woodley.

Askren was a college wrestling teammate of Woodley at the University of Missouri. The two are good friends and currently still train together. Askren is frequently in Woodley’s corner for bouts.

So despite Askren coming to the UFC following a ground-breaking trade with ONE Championship that will send Demetrious Johnson to ONE, “Funky” will not be trying for a UFC 170-pound title fight any time soon. At least as long as Woodley is the one holding the belt.

“Me and Tyron aren’t fighting, it’s simple,” Askren told Luke Thomas on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “We are not fighting. We are not fighting — no.”

Askren is the former welterweight champion of both Bellator and ONE. He is undefeated, a former Olympic wrestler and has started his UFC run in a blaze, calling out just about anyone with a Twitter handle he might end up fighting. At the top of his list are UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

It’s unclear if those are legitimate potential first fights for Askren. That’s OK, though. The Wisconsin native has called out many others, including Colby Covington, Darren Till, Stephen Thompson, Jorge Masvidal and Conor McGregor.

The best-case scenario for Askren is the UFC opening up a 165-pound division. Askren, 34, said he could make that weight with a lifestyle change; he wrestled at 163 as an amateur.

“I think there’s a lot of scenarios in which I get to prove how good I am and we don’t fight,” Askren said of he and Woodley. “They could create the 165, 175 [divisions]. I think that’s a possibility. It’s almost like the UFC is pushing back a little bit despite how much all the fighters realize it would be beneficial to us. If it were up to the fighters, they’d probably create that division tomorrow, right?