The game’s about to change, and no one saw it coming.
The UFC and One Championship are having talks on a possible exchange of their prominent fighters, which is considered the first major trade in mixed martial arts history.
This unexpected news broke after current ONE welterweight champion, Ben Askren, revealed on his Twitter account that there’s a big chance of him fighting on UFC. When a fan asked him about the possibility of fighting on the world’s largest MMA promotion, he answered that he is “98%” sure it’s going to happen.
Following this revelation, multiple sources say that former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will be released from his current contract with UFC to join ONE, according to ESPN.
Although the matter is yet to be confirmed, there has already been an in-depth discussion about the first major trade in the history of MMA. And all parties are said to be hopeful that it will be finalised soon.
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 22, 2018
First For MMA
Trades aren’t new in major sports. However, this is the first time in the history of MMA. Johnson (27-3-1) recently lost his flyweight title to Henry Cejudo in August at UFC 227. Aside from losing the title, Johnson also lost his 13-fight winning streak as well as his record-breaking 11-fight title defence streak.
Asken (18-0, 1 no contest), on the other hand, who is also a former Bellator welterweight champion, recently announced his retirement from the MMA promotion. After his first-round victory over Shinya Aoki in November 2017, Asken revealed that it would likely be his last MMA competition. However, he also expressed his interest in a matchup against big names like Georges St-Pierre or current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Meanwhile, Johnson also admitted before that he hopes to collect title from organisations around the world. It’s also worth noting that his longtime trainer, Matte Hume, serves as ONE’s vice president of operations.