When was the last time two major mixed martial arts promotions conducted a trade for each other’s top stars? Never, right? Well, according to a report from Ariel Helwani of ESPN, ONE Championship and the UFC are close to a deal that would send ONE’s welterweight champion Ben Askren to the UFC in return for the UFC’s former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
The deal is not yet finalized but according to Helwani it is being discussed at length and is categorized by sources as close to getting done.
Johnson, the holder of the UFC’s most successful title defense record, recently lost his title to Henry Cejudo at UFC 227.
Askren who is undefeated at 18-0 and 1 no contest, announced his retirement last year after he defeated Shinya Aoki. He is still currently under contract with ONE however.
Both fighters would need to be released from their respective contracts in order for the trade deal to be finalized.