Following Ben Askren’s controversial first-round submission win over Robbie Lawler at UFC 235 earlier this month, UFC President Dana White made it known he wanted an immediate rematch booked as soon as possible.
However, just a few weeks later, White has changed his tune.
“[Lawler vs. Askren 2] is the fight that I want to do and, you know, we started working on that stuff and then we started going in another direction,” White revealed during an appearance on the latest UFC Unfiltered.
So if not the rematch, what’s next for Askren? Perhaps Jorge Masvidal? After all, the man known as “Funky” did fly all the way to London in hopes of picking a fight with the winner of Darren Till vs. Masvidal.
But, after Masvidal, who wound up knocking out Till, got into a heated confrontation with fellow UFC welterweight Leon Edwards backstage, it seemed all but certain the UFC would look to throw those two into the Octagon next.
Not so fast.
According to White, the promotion is actually holding off on booking the grudge match in favor of Askren’s idea.
“You know [Masvidal vs. Edwards] is always going to be there,” White said. “Masvidal is ranked number five right now, Edwards is number 10. So, we are working on something for Masvidal and Edwards, but not each other. The hatred between those two isn’t going away. When the time is right, we’ll make it happen.
“What we’re actually talking about is Ben Askren vs. Masvidal right now.”
Askren later took to his Twitter to release a video in response to White’s comments before claiming Masvidal won’t accept the fight.
“Dana came out and said this morning that they’re looking to me and Masvidal. I said yes last week. It didn’t take me more than 10 seconds to say ‘Of course. Jorge, let’s do this. You think you’re a gangster.’ Well, now I hear he’s getting cold feet and doesn’t want to do it. He doesn’t want to fight me because he’s scared.
“Jorge, tell them people if you’re scared. If you’re scared, I will move on to someone else. If you’re not scared, then June 8 in Chicago [at UFC 238]. I’m free, you’re free, let’s do this. It’s really simple. The winner is probably going to get a title shot Jorge. So, there’s quite a bit on the line and I think it’d be in your best interest to stop being a chicken and just say yes.”
Masvidal has yet to respond to Askren’s video.