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Jorge Masvidal's slide down the rankings is nothing but UFC playing hardball: Ben Askren

Ben Askren (left), Jorge Masvidal (middle) and Dana White (right)
Ben Askren (left), Jorge Masvidal (middle) and Dana White (right)

Former UFC fighter Ben Askren believes that Jorge Masvidal's slide down the welterweight rankings is just a negotiation tactic by the promotion.

Askren recently made an appearance on Daniel Cormier's Check-In series on YouTube. At one point, 'Funky' discussed Masvidal's position in the UFC welterweight division.

Askren mentioned that despite only losing to Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington in recent years, 'Gamebred' has dropped out of the top 10 at 170 pounds. According to Askren, this was done by the UFC to gain an advantage during contract negotiations with the Miami native:

"I'm actually gonna defend Jorge for a minute here. I don't love it. His only losses are Usman and Covington. That's it recently, right? And they just keep sliding his a** down the rankings. They got him all the way down to number 11... They play hard ball. They just keep moving him. They say, 'You don't wanna play? You're gonna go down more.' Well, I'm not joking, I'm serious. You're gonna call me a conspiracy theorist. The UFC plays hardball."

Catch Askren's comments from the 11:13 mark below:

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Askren taking Masvidal's side may come as a surprise to many MMA fans as the two athletes have not shared a cordial relationship in the past.

The two welterweights faced off at UFC 239, where 'Gamebred' made history by scoring the fastest knockout in the promotion's history. Masvidal landed a running knee on Askren, which ended the fight in just five seconds.

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Jorge Masvidal will return to action in April

Jorge Masvidal will make his comeback at UFC 287 on April 8. 'Gamebred' will take on Gilbert Burns in the co-main event of the pay-per-view card.

Burns recently uploaded a post asking Dana White to make the fight for five rounds and with the 'BMF' belt on the line.

Come on @danawhite April 8 has to be 5 rounds! Put that belt on the line! Everybody knows It’s only one guy in the @ufc that fights ANYONE! #ufc287 https://t.co/XRYhB2phLP

During his appearance on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour, though, Masvidal turned down 'Durinho's offer, saying that he was not getting paid for a 'BMF' title fight:

"[I'll put the title on the line] If they pay me BMF money, but UFC ain't going to up the money, so, sorry Gilbert. I already got my contract, man. I already signed my s**t. I could give a f**k less. Three rounds is more than I need for Gilbert. I like all the publicity and the extras he's putting into it, and all that other stuff, but, bro, three rounds is all I need for his a**."

Catch Jorge Masvidal's response below:

Jorge Masvidal responds to Gilbert Burns calling for the BMF title to be on the line at UFC 287 🏆 #TheMMAHour“If they pay me BMF money. UFC ain’t going to up the money so, sorry Gilbert.”▶️ youtu.be/QRMM-q9WXDU https://t.co/0uHtXdL35A

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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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