Ben Askren
Askren will be competing for the last time at ONE: Immortal Pursuit Getty


  • Askren will put his title and unbeaten record on the line in his last fight against Shinya Aoki.
  • "Funky" also reveals the only way he would be fighting the UFC's champion.

ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren still believes he is the number one 170-pounder in the world of MMA as his retirement fight approaches.

Askren (17-0-1 record in MMA) will defend his title for the last time as he takes on teammate Shinya Aoki (39-7 record in MMA) at ONE's Immortal Pursuit card.

"Funky" has long been criticised for not facing the elite welterweights in the world, having dominated a majority of his fights not only in the Asian promotion but in Bellator as well.

Askren has publicly documented problems with UFC president Dana White, meaning that the Missouri native has never gotten to test himself against the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Robbie Lawler or Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson.

The 33-year-old has previously mentioned, however, that he would be open to a fighting a UFC champion as he touched upon the prospect once again.

"The one caveat would be if I get to fight number one [for a comeback fight]," Askren said at the ONE press conference on Wednesday (22 November). "I've very long believed and I have a very good reason to believe that for many years, I have been the best welterweight in the world."

"Obviously from the rankers' eyes, I've never got to prove that. I think I'm number five or number six [in the world]."

However, the All-American is only interested in a potential welterweight super fight if the UFC champion is not named Tyron Woodley.

"The other caveat was that it was not Tyron Woodley," he added. "He is someone I grew up with, a college teammate, real close to his family. He's number one right now so if he were to lose and someone else was to come up..."

"The world of MMA changes really fast. The growth of ONE Championship in the last five years? Wow.

"It just changes so quickly so you'll never what's going to happen in 12 or 18 months so if that possibility came up, yeah, I would take it because I have felt for many years that I have been the best welterweight in the world."

It's a sentiment that ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong agrees with as he added how he is tired of the Western media's portrayal of his promotion's champions.

"I'm sick and tired of the Western media portraying this like the other," he explained. "The reality is he [Askren] is the best welterweight in the world."

"Anybody who is in US MMA gyms know who the real number one in the world is. All our world champions are genuinely the very best in the world."

ONE: Immortal Pursuit will take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday (24 November).

The event can be live-streamed via ONE Championship's official website for a $9.99 (£7.50) fee. Click here for the link.