UFC President Dana White insists he’s not trying to get Ben Askren embarrassed in the octagon.
“I don’t determine who wins or loses here – these guys do,” White said at a recent press conference for UFC 235, which takes place March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “I make the fights, and they either win or lose them on their own. It has nothing to do with me.”
After years of public back-and-forth, Askren (18-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has reason to be skeptical. Even though White pulled strings to sign him with an unconventional “trade” for ex-flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, he thought the knives were out when the promotion called him offering a matchup against ex-champ Robbie Lawler (28-12 MMA, 13-6 UFC).
White repeatedly has said there’s no bad blood. But the thing is, Askren doesn’t even seem to mind if there is. Sitting behind White’s podium on a dais, he poked fun by painting the scene of the UFC executive’s revenge fantasy.
“Imagine you’re smoking a cigar, 74, 75, thinking, ‘You remember when those guys thought Askren was going to come here, and I got his ass kicked three times,’” Askren said, adopting the gravely voice he presumed White would carry into old age. “‘Ha ha ha ha.’ Like, I can just picture that in my head. That’s like, so funny. That’s probably what I would do if I was in your situation.”
“You and (Tyron Woodley) must hang out a lot,” White shot back.
Welterweight champ Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC), who defends his title against Kamaru Usman (14-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) in UFC 235’s headliner, is a training partner of Askren’s. He’s well known for clashing with White over the scheduling of his bouts.
“That’s a total Woodley conspiracy,” White said. “I can hear you two in the gym.”
Whether or not White has it out for him, Askren’s plans aren’t any different for his time in the UFC.
“I didn’t come here for the right fight, I didn’t come here for the easy fight – I didn’t come here for the damn money fight,” Askren said. “I came here to fight the best in the world and prove that I am.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Ben Askren (jokingly) wonders if Dana White has plotted his UFC demise