It looks like there’s a very real possibility that Ben Askren doesn’t compete in mixed martial arts (MMA) competition again.
Askren joined “The Ariel Helwani MMA Show” today (Mon. October 28, 2019) to comment after his loss over the weekend to Demian Maia. When asked about whether or not he’s considering retirement, “Funky” admitted that the option is on the table.
“I mean, retirement is definitely something I’m considering,” Askren said. “I would be lying to you if I said I was not. It’s time-cross analysis, I have a lot of things I want to do with my life, I’m a really busy guy, I have a lot of things I’m passionate about and I love. Not training specifically, but to and from setting stuff up. Spending, say, 30 hours a week on MMA-related stuff. Can I place my time better somewhere else?
“It’s definitely a thought process that has crossed my mind. That being said – two more things, if I may. All I wanted was an opportunity, that’s all I ever said I wanted. And I got my opportunity, so it’d be hard to be bitter or disgruntled in any way because I had the opportunity I wanted.
“I have not been able to execute on that opportunity, and that’s on me. So that is kind of one thought process, and the other thought process is, yeah, part of me wants to fight more.”
As for whether or not he believes he’s one of the best in the world at welterweight right now, Askren admits that he’s probably not, however, he does believe the path to getting back into that mix is there.
“I was having a conversation with a friend this morning about this specific topic, and they come from a wrestling background as well,” Askren said. “The funny thing about wrestling is, every year we know. The college level, there’s the conference championships, there’s the NCAA championships. At the world level there’s the U.S. Open, there’s the trials, and then there’s the World Championships.
“So every single year, we get to know who the best is, and there’s that really good structure. And with MMA, number one, not always the best guy gets the title shot. There’s a big popularity factor in there. And number two, the outcomes are so variable. MMA is way different. I was winning the first 12 and a half minutes of that fight, and then I jacked it up in the last minute, I totally lost.
“And so, obviously, it’s been proven that today, or Saturday night, or July 6, I was definitely not the best in the world. But is there other ways I can beat everybody in my division? I think the answer is, yes. I just have not proven that yet. So I guess I’ll say for this time, no, I am not, but is there a path where I am? I think the answer to that is still yes.”
Askren was traded to the UFC from ONE Championship last year for Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. He made his debut earlier this year with a controversial submission win over Robbie Lawler. In his second bout, Askren was the victim of the fastest knockout in UFC history, eating a vicious flying knee from Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 in five seconds.
Over the weekend, Askren made his return in the UFC Singapore main event, but ultimately lost to Demian Maia via third-round submission despite a tremendous back-and-forth on the ground. It will be interesting to see if Askren decides to fight again. And if he does, who the Las Vegas-based promotion matches him up against.
Do you think Askren will ultimately decide to retire on his two-fight losing streak?