Ben Askren is willing to prove his worth inside the UFC Octagon for free.
The former Bellator welterweight champion, Askren spoke Monday with MMAfighting.com's Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, addressing UFC President Dana White's claims that the UFC had "no interest" in bringing him on to their star-studded roster.
Despite previously pestering White for a shot at UFC welterweight champion and pound-for-pound great Georges St-Pierre, Askren cut a new deal on air, this time angling for a matchup with GSP's teammate and friend, Rory MacDonald.
Obviously, GSP and Hendricks are going to have a rematch, barring GSP's retirement, which I don't think is going to stand. That was in the heat of the moment. Rory MacDonald is another guy that...he really just bugs me and he irks me. It was really nice to see him get knocked off his pedestal on Saturday night, but, if Dana White were willing, if I lost to him (Rory), I would fight for free and retire from the sport of MMA because that's how confident I am that I will beat Rory MacDonald. I am not completely financially motivated. I obviously want to make a living, but, at the same time, I want to beat up the best guys in the world.
Askren's deal—if he's 100 percent serious—is tantalizing.
A world-class wrestler with a smothering top game, Askren has yet to be truly tested in professional MMA action, and nobody to this point has nullified his game plan.
His toughest test to date, Jay Hieron, was scooped up by the UFC after losing to Askren in a Bellator title fight, a point not lost on the curly-headed champ.
After I beat Jay Hieron, they (the UFC) signed Jay Hieron, so clearly Jay Hieron was good enough to be in the UFC. Surely somebody who could beat him would be, also. Anthony Lapsley, who Jay Hieron choked out in the first round at Bellator was in the UFC last week, so obviously, there's a few flaws with that.
What do you make of Askren's comments? Could he hang with MacDonald inside the Octagon, or would "Ares" teach him that the sport has evolved beyond past his one-dimensional skill set?