Ben Askren
Askren is set to take part in his six bout under the ONE banner Getty


  • Askren previously revealed his intentions of becoming ONE's first two-weight champion.
  • "Funky" will defend his welterweight title against Kadestam at ONE's debut Shanghai show.

As he gets ready to main-event ONE Championship's debut show in Shanghai, welterweight champion Ben Askren is very confident about his chances of a third title defence.

Askren takes on Sweden's Zebaztian Kadestam on Saturday night (2 September) as the American looks to improve his 16-0-1 unbeaten record. He last successfully defended his title against Agilan Thani at ONE's Dynasty of Heroes card in Singapore back in May.

His relatively unknown opponent "The Bandit" shocked fans when he defeated Askren's old foe Luis Santos by way of third-round knockout in his ONE debut on the same Singapore card.

The Swede will be looking to spring another upset this weekend. However, "Funky" says his training camp has gone well and he likes his chances of a 17th win, although he conceded that anything can happen in a fight.

"My training camp has gone so well," Askren told IBTimes UK. "Everything is on point because my opponent is no joke. Of course anything can happen in a fight, but let's just say I like my chances."

The Singapore-based promotion has tasked Askren with being the main event in their first-ever show in Shanghai and the former Bellator champion cannot wait to showcase his skills in front of a new audience.

"It's an honor and a privilege to headline ONE Championship's first event in Shanghai," Askren added. "China is turning to be a hot bed for the sport. ONE Championship is doing a great job finding good talent in this country."

"As the champion, I feel so honored to showcase my skills in front of new audience. Being here is so amazing."

The Wisconsin native had previously mentioned in April 2016 that when his ONE contract was up, he would likely be calling it a day.

However, Askren has also refused to rule out continuing fighting afterwards, with one of his remaining goals still being to become the organisation's first-ever two-weight champion.

Following his win over Thani, the 33-year-old called out then-middleweight champion Vitaly Bigdash, labelling him a "chicken" for not agreeing to fight him after their first bout was called off.

Since then, the Russian lost his title to Myanmar's Aung La N Sang and while Askren would still like to challenge the middleweight champion, his focus is on Kadestam for now.

"Let's see how it goes [referring to a future retirement]," Askren explained. "I am still enjoying the ride as a competitor. Never say never."

"It's [becoming a two-weight champion] still part of my goals that I want to achieve in this company. But let's see how things unfold. Right now, the focus is on Zebaztian Kadestam."

ONE Championship Shanghai's main card will start at 12pm BST on Saturday and a HD livestream can be purchased from their official site.

Ben Askren
Askren has dominated virtually every opponent he has faced in the Asian promotion so far Getty