Ben Askren has all the accolades to be a big-time star in the UFC. He's a former Bellator and ONE champion, was a standout collegiate wrestler and sports an unbeaten professional record over 20 fights.
Askren made his Octagon debut recently at UFC 235, scoring a come-from-behind submission victory over former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. But for "Funky," he still doesn't believe he has been met with open arms by UFC president Dana White.
"Dana's disdain for me is just so clear and evident," Askren said on The MMA Hour (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). "It's so hilarious, because he keeps saying, 'No, I like you, Ben. I don't dislike you.' But then literally every action, every body language tells a totally different story, that he is like somehow repulsed by me. He hasn't liked me forever. He didn't like me in 2013 when they refused to sign me; he doesn't like me now."
Askren was acquired by the UFC in a swap of fighters with Demetrious Johnson. He is a perfect 19-0 with a no-contest in his fighting career.
"I have offered to sit down with the guy multiple times to be reasonable, like two adults should do. He's not taken me up one time. I genuinely don't know what his problem with me is," Askren said. "I think that should have been the story of the night, more than anything else. Like, I dealt with a lot of adversity there. Most guys, 98 percent of the division covers up and takes their ass whooping. There was no quit in me — I just kept fighting."
Askren is now scheduled to attend media events in London later this year ahead of a fight between Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal. With the UFC expected to book new champion Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington, Askren could be signed to meet the winner of Till-Masvidal.