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22nd Jun 2019

‘I really think that me and Ben Askren are gonna fight’ – Dillon Danis

Patrick McCarry

Ben Askren

Bellator and the UFC coming together for a cross-promotional bout would be a gigantic deal.

Dillon Danis is 2-0 in his professional Mixed Martial Arts career, but he feels he is already big enough to drive such a landmark deal forward.

Danis could have a point but it would depend on the money on offer, and the opponent. Bellator has already dabbled in cross-promotional bouts with RIZIN but wading in with the UFC would presumably be a longer and more complicated dance.

Were Danis to go up against Khabib Nurmagomedov, or one of his teammates that were involved in the brawl at the end of UFC 229, that might be a pay-per-view blockbuster that Dana White & Co. could get behind.

Danis versus former Olympic wrestler and two-time NCAA champion Ben Askren, on the other hand, may be a tougher sell. Both fighters have decent profiles and can trash talk better than most.

Earlier this year – after he switched from the One Championship to the UFC – Askren took shots at a host of big names yet found time to take a run at Danis. ‘Funky’ advised the New Jersey native to stop copying McGregor’s “schtick” before declaring the the only things he understands ‘are acting tough and saying douchey things’.

Danis went to 2-0 after his latest round one victory, at Bellator 222, and called out both Rory MacDonald, the promotion’s welterweight champion, and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. He declared:

“Size doesn’t really matter. To me, just f***ing do it!”

As scattergun approaches go, Danis was hunting big game.

Just over 24 hours later and Danis added Askren to his hit-list. During an appearance on The Ariel Helwani MMA Show, Danis said:

“You know’s crazy? I feel like this cross-promotion thing is getting closer and closer and I really think that it’s gonna happen. I really think that me and Ben Askren are gonna fight. I really do think so. I think it’s gonna happen for some reason.

“I was talking to [Bellator president] Scott Coker and they were talking about cross-promotion and he’s open to do it with the UFC. I really think that if Ben Askren wants to do, it it’s gonna happen. So I think it’s on him.”

Danis added that he had signed on for a wrestling match with Askren but it fell through, and that the 34-year-old was not interested in a grappling match. He proclaimed:

“Ben was probably sh***ing his pants watching my fight.”

Right now, Askren has some other stuff on his mind. At UFC 239, next month, the fifth ranked welterweight will take on Jorge Masvidal.

The winner of that bout would be in line for a crack at the likely 170lbs title fight between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington.