NEW YORK — With the historic contract swap that sent longtime UFC flyweight champion to ONE Championship for former welterweight champ Ben Askren, we’ve entered the season of hypothetical trades in MMA. On Wednesday, Chris Weidman said he would trade for Bob Sapp if it were left up to him.
And on Thursday, at the ultimate media day for UFC 230 in Manhattan, the assembled fighters weighed in on who they would trade if it was left up to them, who would they’d want in return, or who would they like to see acquired by the UFC.
The “trade” that went down between the UFC and ONE was a perfect storm of directional validity for each promotion, which made it a win-win situation for both parties. One name that was mumbled under some people’s breath: Colby Covington. The man who wants to #MAGA would be on the trading block if it were up to his fellow fighters. Others were in for familiarity, like their training partners. None of them uttered the words “Dillon Danis.”
Here’s what the fighters said when asked who they would ship out for who and why.
“You know what, I like a lot of guys, I don’t want to give anyone the boot. But let’s bring in Darrion Caldwell [from Bellator]. And let’s get rid of John Dodson. Get the f*ck out of here …get him the f*ck out.”
“I know that I wish Gegard Mousasi was here. He’s somebody I respect a lot, and actually somebody I’ll be training with in the near future.”
“The thing about it is I don’t even watch martial arts. Who should be traded out of the UFC? Let’s get rid of Francis [Ngannou]. Him and [Curtis] Blaydes.”
“If I beat this guy [Derek Brunson], trade him for Gegard Mousasi. [Mousasi]’s a middleweight champ of the world right now, so yeah, I want to fight him. Because he was in the UFC, so yeah, trade [Brunson] for Gegard Mousasi because I want to beat him as well.”
“I don’t know what to say, but I wish Mousasi wouldn’t have left the UFC, so I’ll say Mousasi.”
“If I had to choose somebody, not too many people are fans of Colby Covington, you know, with his antics. So, we’ll trade him out. And let’s bring back Benson Henderson, and give him the biggest contract in the world, the best contract. Let’s bring back ‘Smooth’ Henderson.”
“If I could trade somebody, get rid of Conor McGregor. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching the guy fight, he has an awesome skill set, but I am so tired of hearing his f*cking mouth. Forgive me, I’m not trying to hate on the guy, but man — I cannot stand of just listening to this guy all the time. Get rid of him, and I don’t give a shit who you bring in. Bring in anybody. Bring in Marcus Sursa.* Get rid of Conor McGregor and bring in Marcus Sursa.”
(*Sursa is a training partner of Knight’s)
“I didn’t even know trades could happen. I would like to see Ayaka Hamasaki in the UFC. She’s one of my Japanese fighter friends, and I think she’s in Rizin. I don’t know who I’d trade honestly, but I think Tom Lawlor should fight in Japan.”
“I don’t have anybody to kick out, but I would trade for Fedor. Fedor’s the king, and he’s never fought in the UFC. Bring Fedor in. I would trade two or three guys to bring Fedor in. Is Angela Magana fired yet? We could trade her. We could kick her out.”
“Man, I don’t want to trade anybody out of the UFC, they’ve worked so hard to get in. Anybody who’s not really working. If you out here just talking, messing with Instagram, so Colby Covington. He’s kind of annoying. Some people won’t touch that because he talks a lot of shit, but I don’t care. He’s a little annoying, but I see what he’s doing, so I let him be. He is who he is. But trading into the UFC, anybody I say would be a friend. So I’d bring in my boy Phil Caracappa, he’s Ring of Combat. Stephen Regman, he’s a welterweight. And my boy ‘Shorty.’”
When asked who Shorty was, and if Shorty had a last name, Roberson faltered.
“Shorty, my bad, I don’t know your last name bro.”