Ben Askren believes there is a need and a want for the 165-pound division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Askren is one of the newest additions to the UFC roster thanks to a historic trade. “Funky” was released from his ONE Championship contract to sign with the UFC in exchange for Demetrious Johnson. Askren has long been considered to be the best welterweight outside of the UFC.
Ben Askren Wants 165-Pound Division In The UFC
Askren recently spoke to reporters during a media scrum. He explained why a 165-pound division makes sense (via Bloody Elbow):
“I think everyone wants it. 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 lb 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 is set to meet former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in his promotional debut. The two are expected to collide on Jan. 26 at UFC 233. The action will take place inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Do you feel there is a need for a 165-pound division in the UFC?