Mighty Mouse, Askren Trade Official

What may be the first trade between two MMA organizations is now official.

An agreement has been reached between the UFC and ONE Championship that sees former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson released from his contract in order to sign with ONE. In exchange, ONE released its previously retired welterweight champion Ben Askren to allow him to sign with the UFC.

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani confirmed the trade’s finalization on the afternoon of Oct. 27.

Both men had fights remaining on their previous deals and are expected to sign with their new promotions in the near future. Neither man has a debut fight set.

ESPN reports a plan was developed for Johnson to leave the UFC following his UFC 227 title loss to Henry Cejudo, but the UFC needed an incentive. Johnson’s representatives at First Round Management reportedly proposed the idea of the trade with ONE to UFC brass.

Matt Hume, one of Johnson’s coaches, also serves as ONE’s vice president of operations.

Johnson won a flyweight tournament in 2012 to become the inaugural champion of the UFC’s 125-pound division. He went on to defend the title 11 consecutive times, a UFC all-time record. Johnson was also previously the UFC’s top pound-for-pound fighter and the 2017 Fighter of the Year ESPY winner.

Askren, unbeaten at 18-0, is a former Bellator welterweight champion, in addition to his ONE title reign. He last competed in November 2017, defeating Shinya Aoki in a title fight. While he retired, Askren did suggest he’d be open to fighting big names such as GSP, and he still desired to compete in the UFC Octagon.

Original Story: ESPN

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