Former Bellator MMA and ONE Championship welterweight champion, Ben ‘Funky’ Askren, has announced his retirement from mixed-martial-arts competition with immediate effect in an interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday evening.
Askren, a hugely accomplished amateur wrestler, was involved in a high-profile promotion trade along with former UFC flyweight best, Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson which seen him join the UFC roster in 2018. The Iowa native made his bow for the organization against former 170-pound championship holder, ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler and managed a bulldog choke submission win in the opening round. A hugely entertaining pre-fight back-and-forth alongside recent BMF victor, Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal in June followed, where Askren found himself on the wrong side of a record setting five-second flying-knee stoppage. At UFC Fight Night Kallang at the end of October, Askren lost to former middleweight and welterweight title hopeful, Demian Maia via a fourth round rear-naked choke.
Despite his unfortunate run in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Askren entered the promotion with a 19-0 undefeated record with highlight victories coming against talented grappler, Shinya Aoki, technical strikers Andrey Koreshkov and Douglas Lima, Kiamrian Abbasov, and the explosive striker Lyman Good during a dominant seven year time period.
Speaking with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on The Helwani Show, Askren announced his decision to step away from sport, and how he would be undergoing hip replacement in the near future. “I am retiring from the sport of mixed-martial-arts. Even without the hip thing (replacement surgery), I wouldn’t be far off from retiring. I already retired once before. I’ve never brought these hip issues up. I don’t want people to think that was the reason I lost. I lost because I wasn’t good enough. My opponents were better. I don’t want these to be viewed as excuses.”
Askren wrestling and grappling exploits are extremely notable, scoring gold medal honors in the World Championships in 2009, the Pan American Championship in 2005 and the Roufusport trainee also featured in freestyle-wrestling during the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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