Mixed martial arts history was officially made on Saturday, October 27, 2018, when the Ultimate Fighting Championship traded former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship in exchange for undefeated welterweight star Ben Askren. It marks the first major trade in the history of MMA, with “Mighty Mouse” heading to the top Asian mixed martial arts promotion and Askren finally getting his crack in the big leagues.
Askren (18-0, 1 NC) is a former Bellator and ONE Championship champion, while Johnson (27-3-1) recently lost his title in August to Henry Cejudo.
Johnson was hoping to leave the UFC following his loss, but the UFC needed incentive to release the former titleholder from his contract, according to ESPN.com. That’s when First Round Management — which represents Mighty Mouse — came up with the idea.
The move was a natural fit, with Johnson’s AMC Pankration coach Matt Hume also serving as the vice president of operations at ONE Championship.
There is no word on when either fighter will be making their debut for their new promotions.
Askren, however, has wasted no time calling out nearly every fighter on the UFC roster from Conor McGregor to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to the Diaz Brothers, former interim champion Colby Covington, and many more.