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Thread: Ben Askren

  1. #16
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    Final fight

    Ben Askren talks about "enigmatic" career, believes he was the best welterweight in the world


    Ben Askren defended his ONE Championship welterweight title against Shinya Aoki on Friday. EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

    Nov 24, 2017
    Brett Okamoto
    ESPN Staff Writer

    Ben Askren defeated Shinya Aoki in just 57 seconds on Friday in what he's said will be his final fight in mixed martial arts. The former NCAA wrestling champion has been oddly comfortable with his decision to walk away.

    An undefeated champion, such as Askren (18-0), choosing to hang up his gloves is a rarity in combat sports. Fighters are usually forced out, one way or another. But Askren promised himself a long time ago that his career would end this way.

    "I'm calculated. This has been in my head for 20 years," Askren told ESPN. "I read all these sports biographies as a kid, and the one thing that became apparent is that everybody stays too long, and everybody goes broke. So, I told myself I would never stay too long and I would never go broke."

    The one exception Askren would make -- the one fight he would return for -- is one that would prove he's the No. 1 welterweight in the world. It's the one thing that's eluded him his entire career because it's only existed in the UFC. Askren met with the UFC as a free agent in 2013, but the sides couldn't come to terms.

    Askren believes ONE will try to sign an opponent that would entice him back, but he genuinely believes Friday was his final walk.

    "I think they'll actively look for it. I'm one of their biggest stars, and that would be a huge fight for them," Askren said. "The MMA landscape is changing, right? ONE is doing great. The UFC, by my estimation, is a ship without a rudder right now. Bellator's welterweight division is really good. The game is changing.

    "If that opportunity were to come up, I'd immediately take it. I've asked them to go after free agents in the past. But in all honesty, I think this fight will be it."

    Askren is perfectly content with that. He admits he has no idea how domestic fight fans will remember him. Within the Asian markets he's competed in the over past four years, he's a star. In working with welterweights such as Tyron Woodley, Jake Shields, Jon Fitch and Nick Diaz in the gym, he's very comfortable in his own head with how he stacked up.

    "My career is enigmatic, for sure," Askren said. "There are people who just don't like me and say I suck, but there's no way you can say decisively I wasn't the best in the world. I'm in a weird place for most people. They don't really know where to put me.

    "I haven't been given the chance to prove it, and MMA is a crazy sport, but I think I've been the best welterweight in the world since about 2012."

    Askren's place in MMA will be debated for years, but don't be surprised if he rarely inserts himself into the conversation.

    History suggests retired fighters have a hard time staying away, but Askren's focus has already started to divert to his three wrestling academies, the first of which he founded in 2011. Go figure, the kid who planned his retirement 20 years in advance, also has a post-competition career plan.

    "For me, the feeling I get coaching is better than competition," Askren said. "I've been lucky enough to coach NCAA champions, and the feeling I got when they won was the same as when I won myself.

    "Recently, it's been helping kids realize their dream. I had two kids recently in big tournaments, and they won that match where you just know. You know it and they know it -- where that match was their college scholarship. Like, they just won their college scholarship.

    "For kids who have been dreaming of that for eight years, it's such a 'wow' moment. Honestly, those feelings are better than what I get when I win."
    I've kind of lost track of former Olympians that have gone MMA. I imagine if I surf the web tho, someone is keeping track.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #17
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    5 s

    Click Sheehan's twitter link to see the fight. It'll only take you 5 secs.



    UFC fighter Ben Askren had an excellent response to getting knocked out in 5 seconds
    By: Andrew Joseph | July 7, 2019 2:58 pm

    Ben Askren went into Saturday’s UFC 239 welterweight bout against Jorge Masvidal with an undefeated 19-0 record. So, it wasn’t just a shock for the UFC world when Askren went down in a record five seconds, but Askren also couldn’t have expected that result.

    But it happened. Masvidal caught Askren with a brutal flying knee right out of the gates and sent Askren to sleep. Masvidal celebrated and mocked Askren, which you get to do when you set a UFC record for the fastest knockout.

    On the other hand, Askren handled the disappointment well. A couple hours after the fight, Askren took to Twitter and offered his reaction to the stunning loss.

    He needed just three words.

    Ben Askren

    @Benaskren
    Well that sucked

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    First off, it’s good to see that he’s OK after that. Second off, well said.

    Given that the entire fight fit into a GIF, I can’t think that Askren was too happy with the effort.

    Embedded video

    Seán Sheehan

    @SeanSheehanBA
    Jorge Masvidal with fastest KO in UFC history. #UFC239

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    But hey, look at the bright side, at least he got his first loss over with quickly.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #18
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    Retiring?

    MMA Debate: Was Ben Askren's UFC Career a Colossal Disappointment?
    TOM TAYLOR
    NOVEMBER 18, 2019


    John Locher/Associated Press

    There will be no more fistfights for Ben Askren. At least, as long as he's able to steer clear of Jorge Masvidal at Whole Foods.

    The former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight titleholder announced his retirement on Monday's edition of Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. Unlike his previous retirement, which ended when the UFC came knocking, this one seems likely to stick, as he added that he plans to undergo a hip replacement in the coming weeks.

    ESPN MMA

    @espnmma
    "I'm retired from the sport of mixed martial arts and frankly, I'm retired from everything."@Benaskren cites needing a hip replacement as a factor in his retirement (via @arielhelwani)

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    One generally doesn't fight with an artificial hip squeaking around under their shorts. Certainly not comfortably.

    "I'm retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts, and frankly I'm retiring from everything," Askren said. "... I've been having hip problems and I finally had the discussion with my doctor and I actually got the MRI before my last fight and I need a hip replacement.

    "That's it for me. I've been thinking about this for a week and kind of what I was going to say. Really I've just been filled with gratitude for how great of a career I've been able to have even though, obviously, in the end it did not turn out to go my way."

    Before Askren had even finished his interview with Helwani, fight fans were yanking the caps off their red pens, keen to grade his three-fight stint in the UFC.

    But what grade does it really deserve?

    That's surprisingly difficult to discern.

    On the one hand, he went a tough 1-2 in his three UFC bouts, defeating Robbie Lawler with a controversial submission, and losing to Masvidal and Demian Maia by knockout and submission, respectively. He certainly talked the talk before joining the UFC, but you can hardly argue that he walked the walk.


    Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    On the other hand, he generated as much fan interest as any other fighter on the UFC roster in 2019. It could even be argued that he helped orchestrate Masvidal's recent ascension into superstardom—even if it was just by talking a lot of trash and chowing down on a flying knee. He might not have been a winner, but he was a needle-mover.

    So, was it all a colossal letdown? Or was it an unconventional success?

    Kelsey McCarson: What else can a fighter really hope to achieve in a business as tough as the UFC than to compete in good fights against top-level competitors, provide fans with genuine entertainment and pull down some decent coin for doing it?

    Askren's UFC career might not have gone as the fighter hoped it would, but it's not as if it damaged his overall legacy. Let's face it. What Askren was able to achieve over the course of his career is something most fighters can only dream about.

    He traveled all over the world. He won a bunch of fights. He entertained tons of people.

    And Askren went 19-2 doing that with two separate championship reigns in Bellator and ONE Championship that ended without him ever actually losing those belts in a fight. What's even more amazing to me is that he did all that with what I would respectfully call average athleticism and almost no stand-up striking game worth mentioning.

    Entering the UFC at age 34 after being out of the sport for nearly 18 months was never going to be easy. But Askren talked as big a game as ever and backed it up by coming into yet another MMA promotion to make short work of former champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 235.

    Even the subsequent losses can't really be called failures. Masvidal's fastest KO in UFC history against Askren at UFC 239 was just one of those things. Those two guys could fight 1,000 more times and that would never happen again.

    And against Maia in Singapore, Askren competed at an extremely high level in a fight most people considered a contest between the two best MMA grapplers in the world.

    What did that loss do? Make him the second-best MMA grappler on the planet?


    So sure, Askren's UFC's career wasn't the storybook ending he probably envisioned when he entered the company last year, but it was never going to be that for a fighter his age coming into such a tough situation.

    More importantly, Askren had to know all that going into things, but he came to the UFC anyway. That's something I'd call a tremendous success, or to riff off how Tom phrased it, unconventional awesomeness.

    Lyle Fitzsimmons: Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

    As for the ones who can't do or teach...well, we write about all those other folks.

    So, of course, before anyone gets riled up and says it—it goes without saying that Askren's MMA resume exceeds anything we keyboard warriors would do if presented the same opportunities.


    John Locher/Associated Press

    He wore a champion's belt in two promotions and parlayed those baubles into a spot among the sport's gold-standard competitors. That's a successful run no matter who's doing the hair-splitting.

    But that's not exactly the point we're debating here.

    While 19 wins in 22 fights across a 10-year career is certainly worthy of high-end acclaim, the flood of success that buoyed the chatty Iowan before his "trade" dried to a trickle once he reached the Octagon.

    Seemingly within seconds of his UFC arrival in 2018, Askren was already calling out the stalwart likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St-Pierre, while all but dismissing imminent opponent Lawler and labeling Colby Covington—then an interim champion among the welterweights—"despicable."


    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Though some surely branded it as routine trash talk, it reeked of a brazenness not yet earned.

    Beat someone convincingly? Mouth off all you want.

    But until then, please don't tell us you're the be-all, end-all...we'll tell you.

    As it turned out, the defeat of Lawler was something far less than a tour de force—given what many considered an iffy stoppage—and the follow-up erasure by a 13-loss foe simultaneously exposed a flaw of predictability in Askren's style and made him a YouTube laughingstock of viral proportions.

    So while the career-ending Maia loss itself is no crime—given the Brazilian's obvious grappling street cred—its place amid a pattern of over-promising and under-delivering can't be entirely dismissed either.

    With all due respect to my man Kelsey, let's forget unconventionally awesome.

    As far as the UFC portion of Askren's career is concerned—to these eyes anyway—it was far closer to obnoxiously mediocre.

    Tom Taylor: The pragmatist in me agrees with Lyle.

    There are many, many paths to success for a fighter, but there's really no substitute for victory, and that ingredient has been conspicuously lacking from Askren's spice rack during his time with the UFC.

    As I attempt to appraise his time with the promotion, though, I keep coming back to one question:

    What would this year have been like if the ostensibly retired ONE champ had never heaved himself out of his recliner, slipped into some flip-flops and a pair of UFC gloves, and stepped into the Octagon to take on the world's best welterweights?

    It seems to me that, sans Askren, this year would have been much less interesting. Much less fun.

    We wouldn't have heard nearly as much of Askren's entertaining trash talk, which has zapped everybody from Masvidal to Covington to Conor McGregor.


    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    We never would have seen his ridiculous fight with Lawler, which not only featured Lawler going absolutely berserk—always a treat to watch—but also one of the most haphazard, how did that even happen? comebacks in UFC history.

    Without Askren, we probably wouldn't have seen Masvidal shatter the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history, and without that star-making knockout, we likely wouldn't have gotten Masvidal's recent BMF title fight with Nate Diaz. That means no unprecedented special-edition UFC belt, no guest appearance from The Rock—none of it.

    I mean, just think about the domino effect this guy's move to the UFC has had. Some of the year's best moments are a direct result of his being around.

    For that reason, I've got to side with my guy Kelsey on this one.

    How can we possibly call something as fun as Askren's UFC stint a disappointment?
    Not disappointing at all. It was very entertaining.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #19
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    Just stop

    At this point, Askren should jump over to WWE.

    Just sayin...



    Ben Askren: 'Why was the public so interested in two guys who weren't very good at boxing, boxing?'

    play
    Apr 19, 2021
    Marc Raimondi
    ESPN Staff Writer

    Ben Askren isn't really sure how to compute what happened over the weekend.

    The former UFC fighter and multiple-time MMA champion was knocked out in the first round by Jake Paul in a boxing match last Saturday night in Atlanta. Askren, a former Olympic wrestler, was never a great boxer. So, getting stopped wasn't necessarily a huge surprise to many onlookers.

    What did stun Askren was the success of the event put on by Triller Fight Club and how much he got paid compared to how much he actually cared about the fight.

    Askren told ESPN's Ariel Helwani on Monday that he made 30% to 40% more against Paul than any previous purse in his decade-long MMA career. His base pay of $500,000 (Askren said he made more than that but didn't say how much more) was more than the $360,000 total he made in nine Bellator fights.

    Triller's Jake Paul-Ben Askren PPV leaned too hard into sideshow, but future carries major potential
    "What does it mean to me?" Askren said of the Paul fight. "It doesn't mean anything. A fight that doesn't mean anything to me, the way it captured the public's attention and everyone had an opinion on it -- was so fascinating."

    This is the second highlight-reel knockout on a big stage that Askren has suffered. At UFC 239 in July 2019, Masvidal finished Askren with a running knee in five seconds -- the quickest knockout in UFC history. Askren said those two stoppages were "equally embarrassing," but the fight with Masvidal was very important to him, because a win could have earned him a UFC welterweight title shot.

    "This is a fight that had little significance in my life, and the Masvidal fight had gigantic significance," Askren said.

    In the immediate aftermath of the fight, there were accusations that Askren had taken a dive or that the fight was fixed. Paul dropped Askren with a big right hand, and Askren got up, but referee Brian Stutts, after seeing Askren stumble forward, called the fight. Askren disputed that call in the moment and said Monday he was "fine." But the idea of a fix, Askren said, was ridiculous.

    "It definitely didn't happen," Askren said of people saying he took a dive. "I got hit. The question I have for those people is, what do I gain by it? I told you guys what I made for this fight. It was a very nice paycheck. I'm also not destitute and poor. What do I gain by that? The answer is nothing. I would actually lose a lot. It's not something that would ever cross my mind."

    Askren said he wants his teammate Tyron Woodley, who cornered him Saturday, to box Paul next. Woodley, the former UFC welterweight champion who is now a free agent, is a much better boxer than Askren, Askren said. Even after the loss, Askren said he's still not really sure how good Paul is. Askren was retired, coming off hip surgery last September and is 36 years old with a ton of miles on him.

    "Maybe he's good," Askren said of Paul. "I don't think so. I think I just didn't defend the overhand right really well, and maybe he does land that punch hard. But it's still TBD, because he's gonna fight probably somebody who's significant better at boxing than I am. If he beats them, we'll see."

    Askren said Woodley and his other cornermen warned him about tightening his guard, which he had a habit of keeping loose due to his wrestling-heavy strategy in MMA. Paul came over the top with an overhand right and clocked Askren over his guard. Askren said he has no regrets about doing the fight but maintained that he is now done competing in combat sports.

    "Overall, I really enjoyed myself and I made a lot of money," Askren said. "Unfortunately, I didn't get the result I wanted to. Again, Monday afterward I'm just going to go back to my regular, everyday life."

    The thing that still mystifies him? Just how big of a deal the fight ended up being. Askren said his wife, Amy, saw him in the ring after the fight and asked him, "What is your life?" Askren didn't have a great answer for her.

    "Why was the public so interested in two guys who weren't very good at boxing, boxing?" Askren said. "It's kind of mind blowing."
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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