After last year’s unsuccessful attempt to join the UFC, it appears Bellator’s former welterweight champion has not only found a home at ONE FC, but has been enthusiastically welcomed by its CEO, Victor Cui.
According to an article in Singapore’s TodayOnline, Cui told reporters that:
“Singapore is a hotbed for MMA, and [Ben] Askren will bring more global attention to the country.”
This, of course, was in response to Askren’s statement from last week that he could help ONE grow into a “global power”.
Cui also referred to Askren as a “world class fighter” and called the twenty-nine-year-old’s arrival “a monumental achievement for Asian MMA.”
Cui’s enthusiasm for Askren is in stark contrast to UFC president, Dana White’s opinion of the former wrestling coach and two-time, Wisconsin state wrestling champion. Last year, White referred to Askren as “the most boring fighter in MMA history” and said that he “would rather watch flies f*ck” than watch Askren fight.
Despite the insults, Askren continued to press the UFC for a contract. However, his efforts and his support from teammate Sergio Pettis (younger brother of current UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis) fell on White’s deaf ears.
Askren is expected to fight the winner of ONE FC’s upcoming fight for the inaugural welterweight championship. If he wins, not only will he extend his record to 13-0, but he will win his second championship. The fight will most likely take place in late May.