I actually don't think Dana really wants to sign Askren as much as he really wants to make Bellator over pay to keep him. I still think they tried it with Lombard and Alvarez winning one and losing one. Lombard was the exact same situation IMO he was never worth what the UFC pays him they merely tried to bait Bellator into over paying and they didn't take the bait.
Agree here. I've always thought Dana smiled anytime Askren won. It is almost like having Fitch, Fitch all of your fighters and being champion. It is hard to sell after a while. I realize Askren has found 2 finishes in a row. And his top game is excellent, but casual fans aren't going to tune in for it over and over.
I think it all depends on Bellator's level of interested. Seems low as he is a champ. Has no deal. And haven't seemed to talk about a deal. Dana just isn't going to over pay a wrestler like that. If Bellator offers little, we could see the UFC scoop him up. But if Bellator wants him back bad, I doubt the UFC is going to throw money at him to sign him. No where close to the level of interest they had for Alverez. Dana could very well be driving the price up.
I am one who thinks Askren wouldn't fair too well in the UFC. By not too well I mean maybe fringe top 10. But never a contender.
Joe Silva pretty much sabotaged Lombard with the draw he was given. The MW division isn't supposed to be for grapplers(Hell I don't think Bisping's fought three top MW grapplers yet) and the UFC threw three of them at him. Yet even then had he been given five round fights which his pay level entitled him to he'd be 3-0 right now. The loser in all of this is us because we had a great striker in a great division and the UFC decided to sandbag him for questionable motivations. Did they do it to sell Bellator as a second rate company? Do they not want little guys at the top of their divisions?
As for Ben Askren I'm less enthused about him coming in than a return for the wrongly cut Gerard Harris or Josh Burkman.
I see we still have people overrating Lombard. Tim Boetsch is hardly some grappler. He has decent Judo/wrestling. He beat Lombard by kicking him and Lombard doing squat. Isn't Lombard some elite Judoka? Shouldn't his TDD be top notch stuff? Then he was given a gimmie in Palhares. If he is is supposed to be a great striker (which he isn't at all) an Olympic level Judoka. With a black belt in BJJ. Then what is the problem?
Lombard just isn't that good. He made a living out of beating up bums who were afraid of him.