The proposed deal would send Demetrious Johnson to ONE and Ben Askren to UFC.
UFC and ONE Championship are nearing a trade deal involving Demetrious Johnson and Ben Askren, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported.
According to the report, the proposed deal would release Johnson, a former flyweight champion, from his contract and allow him to sign with ONE. In exchange, ONE would release Askren, a former welterweight champion, and allow him to join the UFC. Both fighters are currently have multiple fights remaining on their contracts with their respective promotions.
The deal would be considered the first major trade in mixed martial arts history.
The proposed swap has not yet been finalized. Helwani reports that the two sides must overcome some “hurdles” before completing the transaction. Both UFC and ONE are, however, hopeful that it will be finalized soon.
Askren tweeted on Monday that there was a 98 percent chance he would join the UFC.
Johnson (27–3–1) lost his title to Henry Cejudo in August and snapped a 13-fight winning streak and 11-fight title defense streak.
Askren (18–0, 1 no contest) retired after defeating Shinya Aoki in the first round in November 2017. After his announcement, Askren said he would be open to fighting Georges St-Pierre or Rory MacDonald.
The fighters’s debuts were not discussed during the trade talks.