ONE heavyweight champion Arjan Bhullar has revealed that another trade between ONE and UFC was discussed a while ago.
The first trade between the two promotions happened back in 2019 when they traded former UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, for the-then undefeated champion Ben Askren.
UFC veteran, Bhullar, came to the Singapore-based promotion and made his debut with an unanimous decision win over Mauro Celli.
His debut fast tracked him and he was booked against longtime champion Brandon Vera soon after.
The Indo-Canadian took the heavyweight crown from Vera, securing the belt with a second-round KO back in April 2021.
Despite his unbeaten run in the promotion, he recently revealed that he almost departed from ONE due to contract issues.
In his recent appearance on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Bhullar detailed the trade discussion involving ONE and UFC.
It’s no secret that UFC brass looks down on Henry Cejudo despite him having been champion in two divisions. . But in spite of all that Cejudo really struggled to get paid.
Cejudo retired back in May of 2020 after a TKO victory over Dominick Cruz. This was the 6th win in a row for Cejudo. UFC was displeased to have an active champion retire but at the same time Cejudo was not really making good money. And it was no secret he was struggling to market himself.
“When I told Khabib how much I’m getting paid, how much I’m asking for, he was so dumbfounded. He’s like, ‘Really?’ He was like, ‘Really?’ He’s like, ‘Man, that’s not right. I understand you.’ It’s just that people are on different contracts, man. You know, Khabib’s making $10 million a fight, and we’re nowhere near that.” Cejudo told an interviewer.
Should the deal be agreed upon, it will be the second trade the two promotions have ever done.
“There was also another opportunity that came toward us through all this and that was Henry Cejudo wanting to come to ONE on a trade. He couldn’t get his stuff worked out on his end and that went high up in the UFC and that was being explored. It was brought to me [wondering] hey what do you think? That’s something I leaned on D.C. [Daniel Cormier] for.”
Bhullar also shared his thoughts about the previous trade between the two promotions.
“I liked what he said and he was giving me some good food for thought. Then I got to thinking; this would be a huge thing. Because I know Chatri [Sityodtong] and I know ONE, and I know Dana [White] and the UFC, I feel. Askren wasn’t a good representation of how ONE athletes can compete. He was two years retired, bad hip, but you make that deal because you’re getting D.J., a G.O.A.T., and you make that happen.”