MMA history has been made according to Ariel Helwani of ESPN as the UFC and One Championship have agreed to a first of its kind trade.
The “trade” isn’t exactly a trade like you would see in other pro sports, but it will see the UFC release former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and One Championship will also release welterweight champion Ben Askren. Those releases will then allow Askren to sign with the UFC, while Johnson will sign with One Championship.
Helwani also reports that it was Johnson’s representatives at First Round Management that initially came up with the idea to do a trade. Since both fighters will get released from their existing contracts with the UFC and One Championship, new deals will get negotiated before each signs with their new promotion.
Johnson was the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion and holds the record for the most consecutive title defenses in the promotion. Askren is the current One Championship Welterweight Champion and a former Bellator MMA Welterweight Champion, but retired earlier this year after defeating Shinya Aoki.
Askren will now enter a welterweight division in the UFC that is ruled by Tyron Woodley (UFC Welterweight Champion) and Colby Covington (UFC Interim Welterweight Champion), while Johnson enters a weight class in One Championship currently ruled by Geje Eustaquio.