UFC, ONE close to trade involving Demetrious Johnson, Ben Askren


The UFC and One Championship are set for the biggest trade in mixed martial arts history with Ben Askren set to swap places with Demetrious Johnson, according to a report by ESPN.

Demetrious Johnson, the former UFC flyweight champion, is reportedly on the verge of signing a promotional agreement with the ONE Championship.

Both fighters are now under contract with their respective promotions with multiple fights remaining on their deals.

Prior to his recent defeat to Olympic gold medallist Henry Cejudo, Johnson (27-3-1) has been the consensus pound-for-pound No.1 fighter in the UFC for the last few years and his approach to mixed martial arts would appear to be a flawless fit with the ethos of ONE Championship, who like to promote their athletes as inspirational figures, role models and superheroes to their fans. The 32-year-old would be the second marquee addition to the ONE roster in October, as the promotion recently secured the services of former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. In return, ONE will release former welterweight champion Ben Askren from his contract so he can finally join the UFC.

Top reporters in the MMA community have confirmed that the first ever trade-off between the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and ONE Championship, a top Asian promotion has gone down.

The American signed a two-year, six-fight contract with One in December 2013, and is considered one of the best fighters never to have competed in the UFC.

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But Askren tweeted on Monday there was a "98 per cent" chance of him joining UFC.

Askren and Woodley are teammates and both are former University of Missouri standout wrestlers.

However, Johnson's head coach at the AMC Pankration gym, Matt Hume, also serves as One's vice-president of operations.

Thanks to his dominant ground game, Askren has largely dominated opponents as a professional, including four defenses each of his Bellator and ONE welterweight titles.

Those are potentially higher profile, more bankable fights for the UFC than anything they could put together for Johnson at this moment in time, which may be an important consideration if the deal does go through.