Dana White has revealed that the UFC are now focussing on making a matchup between welterweights Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal.
For a while, it really did look as though the promotion would have their way and book a rematch between Askren and his UFC 235 opponent Robbie Lawler.
Their first fight ended under somewhat controversial circumstances as the famed wrestler caught his opponent in a bulldog choke – leading to the now infamous stoppage from referee Herb Dean that has been almost unanimously considered to have been early.
Not that Askren’s submission wouldn’t have been enough to put Lawler out had the fight continued, but all in all, the fact that the stoppage was impeded from coming naturally left the result of the fight under some dispute.
And while it seemed as though Dana and co. were set on running the contest back as soon as possible, it does appear as though UFC London headliner Jorge Masvidal’s knockout win over Darren Till was enough to sway their thoughts.
Speaking during a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered, White explained his thoughts on matching Gamebred up against Askren – as opposed to giving him a grudge match against Leon Edwards.
“Masvidal’s ranked No. 5 right now, Edwards is No. 10.
“So we are working on something for Masvidal and Edwards, but not each other.
“We’re actually talking about Ben Askren vs. Masvidal right now.” (via Sherdog)
Askren took to his official Twitter account shortly after to react to the news all while offering a gentle nudge for his rival Masvidal in the process.
“Here’s the deal, Dana came out and said this morning they’re looking to do me and Masvidal. I heard that. I said yes last week. It didn’t take me more than 10 seconds to say, ‘Of course, Jorge. Let’s do this. You think you’re a gangster,’
“Well, now I’m starting to hear he’s getting cold feet, he doesn’t want to do it, he doesn’t want to fight because he’s scared. Jorge! Just tell the people. Are you scared? If you’re scared, I will move on to somebody else. If you’re not scared, June 8, Chicago. I’m free, you’re free, let’s do this.
“It’s really simple. The winner’s probably going to get a title shot, Jorge, so there’s quite a bit on the line and I think it would be in your best interest to stop being a chicken and just. Say. Yes.” (via BJPenn)
It’s a high-stakes welterweight clash between two of the division’s top contenders and most vibrant personalities.
Ben and Jorge have been quite vocal about their contempt for each other in the past and each man would come into this one with quite a bit of momentum behind them – both inside the cage and outside of it.
All things considered, it’s a no-brainer.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena