Ben Askren isn’t the first fighter in the UFC to ask about adding a 165-pound division but he definitely has a unique idea about how to kick it off.
On Thursday, Askren made his first appearance at a UFC press conference as he prepares to make his Octagon debut on March 2 against Robbie Lawler.
Askren has made it clear that he wants to face the best fighters in the world but he’s not gunning for a fight against his teammate Tyron Woodley, who also happens to be the reigning UFC welterweight champion.
If that matchup is unavailable to him, Askren likes the idea of the UFC finally introducing a long talked about 165-pound division where he believes he would dominate the competition.
In fact, Askren has a great plan to introduce that division by making an inaugural title fight against current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“If that 165 [pound division] comes available — American-Russia is always a great storyline,” Askren said during the UFC 235 pre-fight press conference. “It always is. From like since the Cold War. American and Russia. Think about that. Think about how that sells.
“By that point we’re going to have 20-0 Ben Askren versus 27-0 Khabib, somebody’s ‘O’ has gotta go. American vs Russia. I will get on his back and I will chant USA.”
Askren has called out Nurmagomedov numerous times in the past as the former Olympic wrestler believes he has the kryptonite that would give the undefeated Russian nightmares if they ever met in the cage.
The only problem is there is no 165-pound division and despite a chuckle from UFC president Dana White at the suggestion, he’s still not budging on making it a reality.
“165 isn’t happening,” White said shutting down the conversation.
For now, Askren will stay focused on his welterweight debut against Lawler but he will undoubtedly continue to push for the introduction of a 165-pound weight class in the future.
Do you think the UFC should introduce a 165-pound division with Ben Askren vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov? Sound off in the comments and let us know!