ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben "Funky" Askren will have his 17th professional MMA fight on May 26 at "ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes" at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. His challenger is Malaysian fighter Agilan "Alligator" Thani, who is also undefeated.
"I am really excited to be back in the cage," Askren said during an international conference call arranged by ONE Championship more than four weeks before the fight. "Obviously, it's been a while for me. I appreciate Agilan taking the fight."
The last time Askren fought was on April 15, 2016. He defeated Nikolay Alesakhin via unanimous decision.
Askren explained that his time off was partly due to his other opponents telling the media that they wanted to fight but they would not sign the contract to step in the cage. He added, "But I do really appreciate Agilan."
"I think that's what being a fighter is all about," Askren said. "It's when you actually come to sign the contract, step in the cage and you fight someone."
While both Askren and Thani are undefeated, the latter is considered as the underdog. According to Askren, he himself experienced being the underdog when he was a very young fighter.
The main event of "ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes" is the match between ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion Angela "Unstoppable" Lee and two-time Muay Thai world champion Istela Nunes, another pair of undefeated fighters. The match between Askren and Thani will be the co-main event.
Also in the fight card are Shinya Aoki and Garry "The Lion Killer" Tonon in a grappling match. Team Lakay's Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio and Anatpong Bunrad will have a rematch in the flyweight division.
Zebaztian "The Bandit" Kadestam and Luis "Sapo" Santos will compete in the welterweight division. Chen "Rock Man" Lei and Jeremy Meciaz will compete in the catchweight division while Amir Khan and Rajinder Singh Meena will compete in the lightweight division.
Two more female matches are also in the fight card. Rika Ishige and Nita Dea will fight in the atomweight division while Tiffany "The Soul Crusher" Teo and Rebecca "The Professor" Heintzman-Rozewkski will compete in the strawweight division.
Meanwhile, here is a video from ONE Championship: