Even though UFC President Dana White and former Olympic wrestler Ben Askien have gone back-and-forth over Twitter and the media over the past few years, White said after UFC 177 that he was open minded about the possibility of Askren fighting in the UFC.
Askren on Friday night captured the ONE FC welterweight championship in Dubai from Nobutatsu Suzuki, by taking him down and grounding and pounding into a stoppage at 1:24.
The win gave Askren a 14-0 record, and even though his reputation has been at times like a wrestling blanket, a guy who continually takes opponents down and keeps them there, this was his eighth career stoppage. The ONE FC title followed a nearly three-year run as Bellator welterweight champion. Askren vacated that title last year when his contract expired in an unsuccessful attempt to get into the UFC.
Outspoken on a number of subjects, Askren just this past weekend was making fun of Joe Soto getting a title shot. He's often taken digs at White, including once saying that he signed with ONE FC because White suggested he go to the World Series of Fighting.
"Yeah, if he keeps winning, he can get a shot over here," White said of Askren on Saturday.
Since leaving Bellator, Askren, likely the highest profile current fighter on the ONE FC roster, has scored two first-round finishes.
"Ben Askren said a lot of stupid s--- when he left (Bellator), but I don't care about stuff like that," said White. "I could care less about stuff like that. We'll see how the kid fights. Contrary to belief, well, I do hold grudges forever if you're a real idiot, I'll hold a grudge until the day you drop dead, but I don't hold a grudge against fighters."
White pointed to the UFC bringing back Tito Ortiz as an example that he won't less personal feelings get in the way of signing a top fighter.
"If Tito Ortiz can come back to the UFC, anyone can, because there's nobody I hated more than Tito and Tito came back."
Askren is one of the most decorated U.S. wrestlers in any weight class of the modern era, going 153-8 at the University of Missouri and winning two Hodge Trophies for the best college wrestler in the nation.