clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ben Askren wants to fight 'dummy' Johny Hendricks more than any other potential opponent

Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Ben Askren has a wishlist of potential opponents. It contains exactly one name.

Johny Hendricks.

"If you got to say one fight, you could pick any fight, regardless of organization or anything else, you have one fight -- that's my fight," Askren told MMA Fighting.

Why would Askren, perhaps the best fighter in the world not currently in the UFC, choose someone who isn't even a world champion? Simple, really. At least to "Funky."

"Man, because he's a dummy," Askren said. "And I don't like him."

Askren, the ONE Championship welterweight champion, hasn't been a fan of Hendricks for a long time, even going back to their college wrestling days. They were both two-time national champions at different weight classes at rival schools, Askren at Missouri and Hendricks at Oklahoma State.

The latest thing to get under Askren's skin was Hendricks' weight-cutting mishap before UFC 192. Hendricks was supposed to fight Askren's friend and former Mizzou teammate Tyron Woodley, but never made it to the scales due to a weight cut that sent him to the hospital for kidney stones and a dried-out intestine. UFC president Dana White said Hendricks was 26 pounds over the 170-pound welterweight limit when he arrived in Houston for the fight.

"Do you really think it's a good idea to show up 26 pounds over?" Askren said. "You've got to be an idiot to do something like that. Sure, it might have worked once or twice before, but it's definitely not the best way to do things."

What really gets Askren is that in college Hendricks wrestled at 157 and then 165 pounds. Now, albeit a decade later, Hendricks, the former UFC welterweight champion, has a very hard time hitting 170 despite being only 5-foot-9.

"Either he's getting lazy or he just thinks he can do certain things that he can't do or he's just getting older," Askren said. "I don't know what it is, but being 26 pounds over is ridiculous."

Like Hendricks, Askren has plenty on his plate coming up. He'll defend the ONE belt against Luis Santos in a rematch Nov. 13 in Singapore. The two fought in April and the bout ended up a no contest when Askren accidentally poked Santos in the eye in the first round and Santos was unable to continue.

Meanwhile, White wants Hendricks to move up to 185 pounds, where he'll be at a great disadvantage due to his lack of height. That, though, is Hendricks' own fault, Askren believes.

Most of all, Askren is bummed for Woodley. For the second straight fight, Woodley's opponent either missed weight or could not make it to the scale. White has said Woodley is next in line for the title shot, but that's only a superficial modifier at this point. It all depends on what happens when Robbie Lawler defends the belt against Carlos Condit at UFC 195 on Jan. 2. Woodley is already looking at a year without a fight since he beat Kelvin Gastelum back in February.

"Then what if Lawler gets hurt?" Askren said. "Now you've gotta take another fight or you're looking at a 21- to 24-month layoff. In your fighting years, 21 to 24 months is astronomical."

Kind of like Hendricks' weight cut. And Askren's desire to fight the former UFC champ.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting