It has been known for years, Dana White was/is not the biggest fan of Ben Askren. He repeatedly said he would never compete in the UFC and says he is a boring fighter. Well, fast forward a few years and now Askren is in the UFC and has his first fight booked against Robbie Lawler at UFC 233.
However, it is unknown if White’s feelings towards Askren changed or why he decided now to get Askren to the UFC. What is known, according to former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen is that Askren will soon be White’s favorite fighter.
“The ultimate irony, when this whole thing gets worked out between Dana and Ben Askren, is Ben Askren is going to become Dana’s favorite fighter, favorite guy that he has under contract,” Chael Sonnen said on his Beyond the Fight Podcast. “That’s the part Dana White doesn’t know.”
Why does Sonnen believe that? Well, after working under White for years, he understands what kind of fighters he likes, and he believes Askren is exactly that.
“Ben Askren will fight anybody, at any weight, any time, no argument,” Sonnen added. “He’s a true competitor, and that used to be a normal mindset. That used to be what Dana got to deal with. Now, every time Dana has an idea and wants to do a fight, everybody comes in pushing back. The fighters push back. The media pushes back. The managers push back. You’ve got to have meetings, you’ve got to have sit-downs, you’ve got to have phone calls. It’s so hard to get any work done.”
One thing Askren must do to becoming White’s favorite fighter is to win his first fight against Lawler. Askren has already checked the box off of trash talking and calling out fighters. Now, he needs to go out and prove that his 18-0 record is no fluke and he is one the greatest fighters ever. He has been dealing with everyone calling his record a fake, and a flaw to his legacy. Now, in the UFC he gets to prove he is that good, something Sonnen believes will motivate Askren.
“When Ben keeps calling guys out, I already know what’s going to happen,” Sonnen said. “Eventually you’re going to get annoyed. Don’t get annoyed. Don’t ever forget this. Ben Askren has been picked on for three years. For three years, the undefeated, two-division, multi-organization world champion has been the brunt of every joke, of every post — because everyone was safe. (UFC welterweights) could go out and challenge this guy. They could go out and talk trash about this guy. They’d never have to (fight him). You never saw any of Ben’s opponents do that, before the fight or after the fight.”
Sonnen believes White will start to like Askren, now it is up to Askren to back up Sonnen’s words.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime