Askren: Everyone Wants A 165 Pound Division
While Dana White feels a 165-pound division in the UFC is a bad idea, their latest high profile signing, Ben Askren feels the opposite.
“I think everyone wants it,” Askren claimed during a press scrum at UFC 230. “I think it provides, from a business opportunity – not from me as a fighter – if I’m looking at it from a business opportunity, you now have (and they’re talking about doing away with the flyweights) but you now have an extra belt, right? And the other thing is, it provides a lot of chances for superfight opportunities. I mean, how many times have we had a sitting champion at one of those weight classes – 55, 70, or 85 – go to fight another one. I think the answer is zero. You guys can go ahead and correct me if I’m wrong. I believe the answer is zero.
“And so, I think if you change to 55, 65, 75, 85, man that’s a lot easier to move around. And I just feel, for myself, like… I’m a 70 pounder. I can’t make 55, I can’t do it. I made 163 for the Olympics, I can’t go lower than that. 185? I’m tiny up there. So, I’m stuck. And that’s a 30 pound gap, so it’s not like that’s a small gap. Now, if you have 65 and 75, I can make both of those. And I think you’d have a… Kelvin Gastelum could probably make a 75 and 85. You’ve got a Khabib who could fight 55, 65. And so you’d have more of these superfights, more inter-divisional stuff. Which is good.
Askren believes that fans want to see things they’ve not seen before in the UFC, and a 165 division could open the door for some “super fight opportunities.
“…When we’ve seen the same guys fight over and over and over again, it’s boring — when you know what’s going to happen. We want to see things we have not seen before. It’s one of the intrigues behind me. And I think if you create 55, 65, 75, 85 you would have a lot more of that happening.”
Quotes Transcribed by Bloody Elbow