Undefeated former ONE FC and Bellator champion and #5 ranked welterweight Ben ‘The Funky’ Askren will take on veteran and #4 ranked Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal in a pivotal bout at UFC 239 on July 7.
From the looks of it, the bout probably seems like a virtual title eliminator. Askren busted on the welterweight title scene with a controversial submission victory over former champion ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler. Askren faced adversity after being slammed on his head in the first 30 seconds of the fight. However he gained composure to lock Lawler in a bulldog choke from which Lawler seemed to have lost consciousness this leading referee Herb Dean to stop the fight. Lawler, who was not out, immediately protested the stoppage.
Despite the victory being controversial, Askren believes he will get a title shot if he gets pass through Masvidal. He said so speaking with MMAjunkie.
“To prove I’m the best in the world is the one goal that I came back for, because I was retired. I think this puts me closer to that,” Askren said. “I think the way the momentum is shifting, if I beat up Jorge Masvidal, I think there’s a good chance I get a title shot. And if not, I’m not very far away. I’m pretty darn close.”
Askren also addressed another notable name in the division, his arch rival and former interim welterweight champion Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington. Askren believes Covington’s inactivity does not establish a strong enough case for him.
“I think it is [possible],” Askren said of the possibility of leapfrogging Covington into title contention. “I don’t think people are too into Colby’s schtick anymore. They realize it’s old, it’s washed up, it’s just not that exciting. The guy is doing one of these things where you sit out and wait for a title fight and that is something I will never, ever do.”