While Colby Sits Out, Askren Looks To Steal His Spot
While many loathe Colby Covington’s shtick, many in MMA circles do enjoy the antics of Ben Askren.
The former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion, who after a several year issue with UFC president Dana White, signed with the organization late in 2018.
After a controversial debut win at UFC 235 against Robbie Lawler, Askren steps into the Octogon for the second time at UFC 239 against top challenger Jorge Masvidal.
“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 told MMAFighting. “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.”
What stands in the way is Covington, who is considered the mandatory challenger for the UFC middleweight title, unless you’re the UFC, who have had Darren Till and Kamaru Usman jump the line twice since Covington won the interim lightweight title in early 2018.
“I think it is [possible],” Askren said on possibly being the third fighter to leap frog Covington for a title shot. “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.
“How long ago was Colby’s last fight? Last June? What is this mother—ker going to sit out for 16 months and expect to get a title shot? The only way to stay relevant in this sport is to stay in there and keep getting after it. So yeah, if I go beat up Jorge, I’m going to have a lot more momentum. And if “Marty” (Kamaru Usman) wants to make some money, I’m sure “Marty” has a pay-per-view clause in his contract, you’re damn sure that I’m going to sell a whole bunch more pay-per-views against him than Colby would.”
“That’s a long time to sit out in your prime,” Askren said of Covington’s holdout. “Colby had a minor surgery and then if you remember, Colby had the option to fight “Marty” in January of this year and Colby said no and then Colby got burned on that whole deal.
“I don’t know why he keeps sitting out. He should have figured out that probably isn’t a great strategy and went to a different strategy.”
Report: MMA Fighting