When Ben Askren retired earlier this month, the whole mixed martial arts community responded in shock while others paid tribute to the “Funky” one.
However, everyone was waiting for one person’s reaction and that was Jorge Masvidal’s. Both Masvidal and Askren had a heated, back-and-forth buildup to their UFC 239 fight back in July.
In the end, “Gamebred” had the last laugh when he knocked Askren out in a record five seconds following a flying knee that went viral. Since then, Askren would go on to lose again when he was submitted by Demian Maia last month.
That, along with hip issues, led to his retirement.
Masvidal acknowledges that Askren helped with his newfound popularity, but doesn’t understand why he felt the need to call it a day:
“He brings in his own crowd, — he was a stand-out in wrestling, especially collegiate wrestling, so he did have a fan base,” Masvidal said in a recent interview (via South China Morning Post). “He did some things over at Bellator and in One FC [One Championship]. So he did have a crowd that he brought over with him to the sport, a different type of crowd.
“… But what I don’t like is we’re fighters. We’re supposed to fight, man. You got two losses, it’s no big deal my brother. Get back on the high horse, get to work and figure it out, man.”
Askren notably needs hip replacement surgery and seemed confident that this would be his final retirement — having retired in 2017 as well.
While Masvidal can’t comment on how Askren’s body is holding up, from a results-standpoint, he feels retiring after two losses shouldn’t discourage a fighter:
“I’ve heard he has hip issues and stuff so I can’t comment on how bad his body is holding up or not,” Masvidal added. “But as far as fighting goes, two losses can’t discourage you if you’re a fighter.”
What do you make of Masvidal’s reaction?