Despite getting into a physical altercation with Jorge Masvidal a few weeks ago in London, Leon Edwards will not be getting the opportunity to face “Gamebred” inside the Octagon. That honor will go to Ben Askren, as the two men are in talks to throw down at UFC 239 on July 6, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Though Dana White stated the reason behind passing on Edwards vs Masvidal was due to “Rocky” being ranked too low, Askren says it’s simply because Leon isn’t all that interesting and doesn’t appeal to fight fans. And until he starts building up his personality, “Funky” doesn’t feel bad for leapfrogging a man (in more ways than one) who has been fighting inside the Octagon for five years.
“No, not at all. Do I feel bad that he got punched in the face? Yeah. I don’t like sucker-punching. I guess I do feel bad for that part. Do I feel bad because he’s not getting the fight? Not at all,” said Askren on a recent appearance on The Ariel Helwani MMA Show.
“This is what Leon Edwards doesn’t understand; he’s asking, ‘Why is Ben Askren in London?’ It’s like, Leon, do you see all the numbers I am getting on pretty much every social media? Do you see why Ariel has me on every single week? It’s because people, for some reason, and I don’t know why, people now find me at least semi-interesting and they want to see me get in the Octagon. So you need to do something similar to yourself and then you will be able to get the bigger fights.”
Regarding his won brief run-in with Masvidal in London, Askren says there wasn’t much to it, revealing it was nothing more than “Gamebred” getting irate over a simple comment. Something Ben says he’s quickly figured out is a running theme in UFC, with fighters getting so hot-and-bothered rather easily.
“I’m standing upstairs, then he walks up the stairs. So I say, ‘Hey, Jorge is here.’ And then he gets pissed. It doesn’t take anything to piss these guys off, it’s kind of funny. Just like the Marty scene. All I said was, ‘You are not going to make me sit next to Marty, are you?’ And he got irate,” explained Ben.
“It doesn’t not take much to make these guys mad. It’s kind of hilarious. So he starts cussing at me, I look at him, smile and he walks by to do his interview and that was it. Obviously I am not going to fight this guy in the hotel, I fight in the Octagon for a lot of money,” added Ben.
“But there was definitely no running away or me wishing him good luck or anything like that. It was a simple exchange and I don’t know why he felt the need to lie about it, concluded “Funky.”
As far as his potential fight against Masvidal, Ben says it’s not a done deal yet and that it could either take place at UFC 239 in July, or at UFC 238 in June. While he is adamant he will fight at either one of those events, the hold up is on Masvidal’s end.