In order to complete the “trade,” the UFC has agreed to release Johnson from his UFC contract, while One Championship has agreed to do the same for Askren. Both fighters had multiple bouts remaining on their previous deals with their respective promotions. Johnson and Askren are expected to sign new contracts soon, according to the report.
Johnson and Askren confirmed the transaction on social media Saturday.
Hey BOSS, time to unblock me ;) pic.twitter.com/563Pr51MbC— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) October 27, 2018
One Championship CEO Chatri Sityodong welcomed Johnson to the Singapore-based organization and also thanked all parties involved for making the deal possible.
Please join me in welcoming the #1 pound-for-pound king, @MightyMouse, to ONE Championship! His extraordinary achievements speak for themselves, but I am most impressed by his character, his values, and his life story. #GOAT— Chatri Sityodtong (@YODCHATRI) October 27, 2018
According to the ESPN report, the idea for Johnson to leave the UFC took shape after he relinquished his flyweight crown to Henry Cejudo in August. Johnson’s team at First Round Management reportedly came up with the idea to send Askren to the UFC in exchange for “Mighty Mouse.” Johnson’s head coach at AMC Pankration, Matt Hume, also serves as One Championship’s vice president of operations.
Johnson was the UFC’s inaugural flyweight champion and broke Anderson Silva’s record for consecutive title defenses last year. “Mighty Mouse” saw a 13-bout winning streak come to an end in a split-decision defeat to Cejudo at UFC 227.
Askren is unbeaten in 19 professional bouts, including 170-pound championship stints in both One and Bellator MMA. The Roufusport product retired following a 57-second stoppage of Shinya Aoki this past November but left the door open to return if a superfight against the likes of Georges St. Pierre became an option.