In a historic first for the sport of mixed martial arts, the UFC and ONE Championship have negotiated a deal that will see two of their elite fighters switch organisations.
Demetrious Johnson, the man who holds the record amount of title defences, will be swapped with undefeated welterweight Ben Askren who has often been labelled the best fighter outside of the UFC umbrella. The pair will be released from their appropriate contracts and will sign new deals with their new homes. Ariel Helwani of ESPN first reported the story.
According to ESPN’s report, it was Johnson and his management that raised the concept of his leaving the UFC. With his coach Matt Hume also serving as ONE’s vice president of operations, Johnson and co. clearly felt their time with the American promotion should come to an end, particularly with his losing the world title to Henry Cejudo earlier this year.
Because of that connection to ONE, and because of Askren’s long held desire to fight in the UFC and prove himself at the top level, a pitch was made to the UFC for a trade to occur. The deal was eventually finalised, and history made.
— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouse) October 27, 2018
Hey BOSS, time to unblock me 😉 pic.twitter.com/563Pr51MbC
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 27, 2018