Ben Askren has let it be known he’s not a big fan of Johny Hendricks in the past, but the ONE FC champ says he won’t be tossing verbal jabs at his UFC counterpart…well, at least during fight week.
In the past, Askren has accused Hendricks of dirty tactics, when the two of them were all-star wrestlers on the collegiate circuit. In addition, the former Bellator champ and undefeated fighter has called out Hendricks to scrap.
Well, Askren is alongside his Roufusport teammate, Anthony Pettis, this week in Las Vegas, in advance of the latter’s bout with Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181. Hendricks, of course, is set to fight Robbie Lawler that same night in the headliner.
So, when Askren was asked by MMA Fighting.com to comment on Hendricks, the decorated wrestler reportedly replied:
“I’m here for Anthony this week,” said Askren. “Hendricks is just incidental. I’m focused on Anthony retaining his title, and Hendricks is cutting weight right now so it wouldn’t be fair. I don’t know if it’s a fair mental fight to start out with, but then when you’re cutting weight, that’s just…you’ve got to have some respect, some value somewhere.”
Askren did note that if he was a member of the media, he would ask Hendricks what it “feels like” to not know if he’s the best 170’er, since he can’t fight “Funky.” That seems to be more than a reasonable question no? Askren also added that he’ll leave “Bigg Rigg” alone, but just for “the weekend.”
While Askren’s fanbase may not be the biggest, it’s worth noting that he has finished four straight opponents, and that he needed less than two minutes to win the ONE FC belt. So, clearly the 30 year-old is becoming an even more complete and dangerous fighter, and really, it would be fascinating to see whether he could work his way up the UFC ranks. Chances are he could.
Of course, before any of that happens, Askren has to finish out his ONE FC deal, and UFC boss man Dana White would have to change his mind about signing a guy, who he’s verbally sparred with several times.
UFC 181 will go down at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the card will be available throughout North America via pay-per-view.