Undefeated mixed martial arts star Ben Askren could be coming out of retirement. According to reports, the former Bellator and ONE FC welterweight champion is closing in on a deal to make his long-awaited debut in the UFC.
The two-time NCAA wrestling champion said that there is a “98 percent chance” he will be joining the UFC at age 34.
MMA insider Ariel Helwani of ESPN appeared to confirm the news on social media.
“I’m told there has been some promising movement as of late on the Ben Askren to UFC dream but nothing is finalized at this time,” Helwani wrote.
UFC president Dana White previously hinted that Askren was working to join the promotion.
“Ben Askren hit me up a few months ago and said ‘what are the odds that we can talk about me getting into the UFC?’ White said. “And I said we can absolutely talk about it. And we, I had him, I said you need to send me a letter, before I even talk with you or meet with you or do anything, I need a letter saying you’re a free agent and you’re able to whatever. And he’s not a free agent. He’s not a free agent, he’s under contract with One FC and he’s going to have to go fulfill his contract with them before I would even meet with him or talk to him.”
Askren made his professional MMA debut on Feb. 7, 2009 at Headhunter Productions: The Patriot Act where he scored a first-round TKO victory over Josh Flowers. Askren never looked back and has since hauled off 18 victories with one no contest. In his most recent outing on Nov. 24 at ONE Championship 64: Immortal Pursuit, Askren needed less than 60 seconds to dispose of Shinya Aoki via TKO.