We’re over one year removed from the Demetrious Johnson-Ben Askren trade between the UFC and ONE Championship.
Back in Oct. 2018, the UFC and ONE swapped talents. Johnson was sent to ONE in exchange for Askren. At the time, many believed it was the right thing to do as “Mighty Mouse” was an elite talent who didn’t draw well and “Funky” was undefeated and his personality had the potential to bring in money. Fast forward to late 2019 and Johnson is the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix champion, while Askren is 1-2 under the UFC banner.
Rich Franklin Talks DJ-Askren Trade Over A Year Later
ONE vice president Rich Franklin told MMAJunkie.com that he thinks both the UFC and ONE have benefitted greatly from the trade.
“DJ, for us, who maybe didn’t get the respect that he deserved in another organization, is going to do really well over here in ONE Championship,” Franklin said. “There are many fans on this side of the planet that gravitate towards the smaller athletes, and he puts on exciting matches. There’s no doubt about that, so for us, regardless if he’s winning or losing, that’s not as important as he’s a big draw. And likewise for Ben Askren moving to the UFC. Regardless of whether he’s winning or losing, he’s a big draw because people are going to be curious.”
Franklin then said that ultimately, he thinks the UFC got what they were hoping for with the exchange.
“Even though he lost his last match to Demian Maia, when they find him for another match, people are still going to be interested in seeing how he performs,” Franklin added. “To see if, ‘Oh, maybe he had a rough start out of the gates or whatever,’ so they’re still getting a return on investment in that respect, and I think it was probably smart for both organizations because the UFC wasn’t getting a return on investment in Demetrious.”