While Askren will compete at welterweight in his UFC debut, it hasn’t stopped the fighter from wanting the UFC to add a 165 pound weight class.
“I think everyone wants it,” Askren said backstage at UFC 230. “I think it provides, from a business opportunity – not from me as a fighter – if I’m looking at it from a business opportunity, you now have (and they’re talking about doing away with the flyweights) but you now have an extra belt, right? And the other thing is, it provides a lot of chances for superfight opportunities. I mean, how many times have we had a sitting champion at one of those weight classes – 55, 70, or 85 – go to fight another one. I think the answer is zero. You guys can go ahead and correct me if I’m wrong. I believe the answer is zero.”
The UFC currently has twelve weight classes, ranging from women’s strawweight (115 pounds) to men’s heavyweight (207 pounds and above).
Askren would also like to see the UFC implement even more weight classes, with a ten pound gap in between each division.
“And so, I think if you change to 55, 65, 75, 85, man that’s a lot easier to move around. And I just feel, for myself, like... I’m a 70 pounder. I can’t make 55, I can’t do it. I made 163 for the Olympics, I can’t go lower than that. 185? I’m tiny up there. So, I’m stuck. And that’s a 30 lb gap, so it’s not like that’s a small gap. Now, if you have 65 and 75, I can make both of those. And I think you’d have a... Kelvin Gastelum could probably make a 75 and 85. You’ve got a Khabib who could fight 55, 65. And so you’d have more of these superfights, more inter-divisional stuff. Which is good,” says Askren.
UFC 233 takes place on Saturday, January 26 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California with Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.