Ben Askren is giving his thought on the UFC middleweight title picture.
UFC 281 saw a new champion be crowned. Alex Pereira fought and defeated Israel Adesanya in the fifth round of their UFC 281 main event in New York City. Immediately following the win by Pereira, he began to receive callouts. It seemed that Adesanya wanted to take some time to heal up and rest when he spoke post-fight but is now calling for the rematch himself. It is unclear which way the UFC will go with Pereira.
A former UFC fighter Ben Askren is giving his thoughts on the new champion and what could be next for him. He spoke to The Schmo about the win by Pereira and how he assessed his skills.
“He hits hard you know, I think he clearly went in to fight and that third round left a lot of questions about Pereira. Like can he fight a Chimaev or a Bo Nickal who doesn’t have any fights in the UFC but, wow, if he can be kept down with wrist control like surely a wrestler can get on top and hold his wrist and punch a whole bunch of times,” he said. “I mean, I know that’s what a lot of people are thinking. But his story of going from kickboxing to the champion in UFC in seven fights is pretty insane.”
Ben Askren believes Israel Adesanya’s rematch depends on his relationship with Dana White
Askren thinks Adesanya has the credentials to warrant an immediate rematch but believes the key to getting one lies with Dana White. Askren feels that White may go a different route to keep the division moving and potentially give a chance to some fighters that could be big for the organization.
“So either you gotta give it to Izzy but this is where I think this is where Dana gets really tricky. If he doesn’t like dealing with Iizzy, he’ll give someone else a shot because now someone else can have the belt, right, and you can put that on them,” he said. “If he likes Izzy, Izzy is gonna get the shot, right, because he deserves it, he’d been the champ for a while.”
Dana White spoke about the likelihood of Adesanya being granted a rematch next and said he would not rule it out. Adesanya and Pereira have fought three times total including in kickboxing, which could work against Adesanya when it comes to promoting a fourth fight.