Singapore. ONE Championship will present a retirement bout for welterweight world champion Ben "Funky" Askren from the United States, in an event dubbed "ONE: Immortal Pursuit" at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday (24/11).
Askren will defend his title against teammate and former ONE lightweight world champion Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki, ONE Championship chairman Chatri Sityodtong said during a press conference in the city-state on Wednesday.
Chatri reminisced about the start of ONE Championship, saying that Singapore has witnessed the growth of this organization from its humble beginnings to its rise as the largest global sports media property in Asia.
"It's great to be back home to host another blockbuster event. Ever since our first event, which was held in the heart of Singapore, ONE Championship has been relentless in its pursuit to give fans adrenaline-pumping action from start to finish. 'ONE: Immortal Pursuit' is certainly an event not to be missed," he said.
Askren, a former NCAA Division I All-American and US Olympian, is a collegiate wrestling legend and one of the finest martial artists in the world. He joined ONE Championship in 2014, taking the promotion by storm and capturing the ONE Welterweight World Championship.
Since then, Askren has successfully defended the title twice and stopped six of his last seven opponents to maintain a perfect 17-0 professional record.
In what is billed as the last bout of Askren's flawless professional career, he is set to defend his title against the legendary Shinya Aoki of Japan.
"I said from day one that I am the best in the world at what I do, and this is what I am going to do every single time," Askren said. "I am excited for this bout. Aoki is a grappler and has a great skillset that I respect, so I think it will be a great battle."
Meanwhile, former ONE lightweight world champion Aoki said that despite Askren being a spectacular and respected martial artist, he is here to win another belt in ONE Championship.
"I want to win again. I am not satisfied yet. I am very determined to win this next bout of mine," he said.
The 34-year-old Aoki is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and has won multiple grappling tournaments all over the world. He also has a black belt in judo and is widely considered one of the best pure grapplers in professional martial arts competition today, where the upcoming match is his debut in the welterweight class.