Ben Askren has not been hiding since suffering his first professional loss and a brutal knockout defeat at UFC 239. There, Askren was knocked out cold by a flying knee in just five seconds. Since then, he has done interviews, released new episodes of his podcast, and even made fun of himself on Twitter.
His coach, Duke Roufus, is very proud of how “Funky” has handled the loss. Given he is a role model for wrestlers, he is excited that Askren is making it known it is okay to lose, and everyone will at some point:
“One, it’s a special winning attitude,” Roufus told MMA Junkie Radio. “Even in losing, he’s going to focus on winning again right away, and how do you do that? You own it, you deal with, you accept it and you figure it out. He’s a great role model for young wrestlers, athletes and mixed martial arts.
“Don’t play the blame game. It’s so easy to make up excuses. It’s a mixed martial arts fight. He also gave Jorge a lot of credit – great move, and he even said he doesn’t deserve a rematch. Ben’s very candid, and that’s what I love about him.”
Although he is praising how he handled the loss, when the fight happened, Roufus was very concerned. He saw his pupil go stiff as a board and out cold for quite a while:
“Anytime a guy goes down on the canvas and they’re hurt, as long as I’ve been doing this, it never gets easier,” Roufus said. “It never gets better. I was very concerned. I didn’t see the move happen exactly, so when I saw Ben on the mat, I thought maybe his orbital was smashed, his nose, and it looked like he was in a lot of pain. It was hard, and luckily it landed on the neck – but they all hurt.
“Just a great attitude and … MMA is such a crazy sport in the cage that there’s so many ways to win and lose that you got to be prepared to lose in this thing. It’s very hard to be Floyd Mayweather, undefeated.”
Do you like how Ben Askren has handled his first professional loss?