ONE Championship and the UFC are close to trading superstar fighters in an unprecedented blockbuster deal.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani tweeted just minutes ago that both promotions are on the verge of finalizing a potential mega-trade involving Demetrious Johnson and retired ONE champion Ben Askren:
Breaking: UFC, ONE Championship close to trade involving Demetrious Johnson and Ben Askren. Potential history in the making for MMA — https://t.co/HllP7dY0of
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 24, 2018
The proposed deal would require the UFC to release former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson from his contract in order to allow him to sign with ONE. In return, ONE will release former welterweight champion Ben Askren from his contract so he could finally join the UFC. Sources have stated that the ‘trade’ isn’t finalized as of yet. However, all parties involved are hopeful the deal gets done soon.
Johnson just lost the flyweight title to Henry Cejudo after a record 13 straight title defenses. Matt Hume, Johnson’s head coach at AMC Pankration also serves as ONE’s vice president of operations.
Askren announced his retirement following his first-round victory over Shinya Aoki in November 2017. He is unbeaten in 18 professional fights. Askren also captured gold in Bellator MMA when he beat Douglas Lima to obtain the welterweight title.
On Monday, Askren tweeted that there was a 98 percent chance of him joining the UFC.
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 22, 2018
One can only wonder if this trade will be the proverbial death nail for the UFC’s flyweight division.