UFC Opinion: Demetrious Johnson's trade might haunt Dana White after Ben Askren's defeat to Demian Maia
At UFC Fight Night 162, Ben Askren fought Demian Maia in a fight that might prove to be one of the most critical fights of his entire life. Given his current condition, truthfully, the answer is up in the air, flying from city to city with George Clooney.
Levity aside, this is the worst situation that could have imagined for Ben Askren when he signed with UFC after being traded from ONE Championship.
How did Ben Askren come to UFC?
Coming in from ONE FC as a trade for 'Mighty Mouse' Demetrious Johnson, it was seen as a huge move by the UFC. It was their way of getting an undefeated talent, who had been the Champion in both ONE FC and Bellator MMA, as well as saying that they would no longer be focusing on the Flyweight division.
Hilariously, neither of these messages worked out well for them. When TJ Dillashaw went down to Flyweight to fight Henry Cejudo in an alleged attempt to win the title and close the division altogether, he was defeated by Cejudo in seconds. The Flyweight division is still not the most active in UFC, but it is in far better condition than it was a year back.
Who has Ben Askren fought in the UFC?
On the other side of the coin, since coming to the UFC, Ben Askren has been unable to convince the fans that he was worth giving away Mighty Mouse. Not only has Ben Askren not been what was advertised, but his undefeated record is also gone.
First came his win against Robbie Lawler. What should have been a joyous occasion — after all, a debut win is no mean feat — was marred by the fact that everyone felt that the fight had been called too early and that Lawler could have continued. In such a situation, where Ben Askren could have taken the high road and gained the goodwill of the fans by offering him a rematch, the fighter refused to do so.
This was the first strike in the eyes of the fans.
Then came the fight that would change the shape of the UFC. Coming off a massive win against Darren Till, Jorge Masvidal was in stellar form. A win over Masvidal would have helped Askren to gain some credibility in the UFC. Unfortunately, it would be Masvidal gaining notoriety at the behest of Askren, instead. Masvidal started the fight by hitting a running knee on Ben Askren. It hit his head and within 5 seconds, the fight was over.
Finally, when it came to the fight against Demian Maia tonight at UFC Singapore, it was Askren's chance at redemption. However, it was not to be. Maia not only defeated Askren, but he also added insult to injury. Although the fight went for longer than 5 seconds, in the third round of the fight, Maia locked in the Rear-Naked Choke and made Askren weakly tap out.
Where is Demetrious Johnson now?
'Mighty Mouse' Demetrious Johnson has had quite the opposite run in ONE FC compared to Ben Askren. Whereas Askren has two losses and a controversial win, Johnson has three decisive wins to his name.
He defeated Yuya Wakamatsu via a Guillotine Choke and made his tap out in his debut fight. Since then, he has Unanimous Decision wins against Tatsumitsu Wada and Danny Kingad, with the latest win coming on October 12.
What's next for Ben Askren in the UFC?
For the first time, Ben Askren's future in the UFC looks in serious danger. At this point, it's unsure what Askren can do. He needs a big win to gain back half the momentum he had coming to the UFC, but getting a decent fight would be difficult for him now.
Otherwise, he might have to start at the bottom and build his way up with fight after fight to find his place in the company again.
Published 26 Oct 2019, 22:12 IST