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5 Ben Askren fights that we missed out on in the UFC

Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:05 IST

Ben Askren has retired from MMA after just three UFC fights
Ben Askren has retired from MMA after just three UFC fights

The MMA world was rocked yesterday by the news that former ONE FC and Bellator MMA Welterweight champion – and current UFC star – Ben Askren has decided to hang up his gloves, citing a need for a hip replacement as the biggest reason for his decision.

Askren was on a two-fight losing streak in the UFC, but his acquisition in an unprecedented ‘trade’ with ONE FC, with former UFC Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson going the other way, was still one of the most noteworthy moments in recent MMA history. Who could’ve expected him to have just three fights in the promotion?

The former Olympic freestyle wrestler will leave the MMA world with an impressive record of 19-2, and while he’s seemingly leaving the sport with few regrets, many fans will wonder what could’ve been had Askren entered into the UFC a little earlier.

Due to such a long time competing outside the world’s biggest MMA promotion – practically a decade in fact – MMA fans were robbed of seeing some of the most intriguing fights involving ‘Funky Ben’. Here are 5 potential Ben Askren fights we never got to see.

#1 vs. Georges St-Pierre

Could Askren have outwrestled the great Georges St-Pierre?
Could Askren have outwrestled the great Georges St-Pierre?

When Askren left Bellator MMA as their undefeated Welterweight champion in the summer of 2013, many hardcore fans suggested that the former Olympic freestyle wrestler was the best grappler in the 170lbs division – and even if that wasn’t the case, he was probably the best pure wrestler. Of course, at that time, one man who could’ve disputed both was then-UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

‘GSP’ fought twice in 2013, lastly defeating Johny Hendricks to defend his UFC crown that November, after which he would take a leave of absence from the sport that lasted almost four years. But had the UFC been able to sign Askren when he left Bellator, a fight between the UFC’s champion and the undefeated champion of their biggest rival promotion would’ve been practically impossible to ignore.

How would a fight between the two have gone? Based on the evidence we’ve seen recently, GSP most likely would’ve won in impressive fashion, but it still would’ve been fascinating to see if he could’ve prevented Askren’s takedown, particularly as he’d always proved himself to be a superior MMA wrestler than even great amateur wrestlers like Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch.

Askren would’ve been the perfect foil for GSP’s white-meat babyface persona too, as his intelligent trash talk would’ve built the fight into one of the biggest challenges in St-Pierre’s career. It’s a massive pity we never got to see it.

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Published 19 Nov 2019, 16:12 IST
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