Nobody asked for it, but it's coming. Retired MMA veteran Ben Askren is set to face YouTube star Jake Paul in a boxing match on April 18th.
Throughout his fighting career, Ben Askren was touted as one of the best grapplers in MMA. In fact, Ben Askren relied on his astounding wrestling and ground game to finish 63 percent of his fights.
However, those skills will be utterly useless for Ben Askren when he takes on Jake Paul inside the boxing ring. The internet celebrity already has two pro boxing fights (and KO wins) under his belt.
Does this mean Jake Paul is the favorite to win this exhibition? According to betting odds, yes. But, in reality, absolutely not. Here are five reasons why Ben Askren will handily beat Jake Paul:
5. Ben Askren is a battle-tested
Jake Paul proved he can hang with professional athletes when he knocked out ex-NBA player Nate Robinson. Unfortunately for Jake Paul, Ben Askren is not just any former pro athlete. He was a professional fighter and a former champion.
Jake Paul may have two victories, but both of those came against nobodies. Ben Askren isn't a nobody. His UFC career might be forgettable, but he is a former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion. And while Ben Askren isn't known for his striking ability, he wouldn't have made it to the mountain top without a respectable stand-up game.
No disrespect to Jake Paul, but he hasn't faced a true pro like Ben Askren.
4. Ben Askren has everything to lose
What does Ben Askren have to gain by defeating Jake Paul other than a huge bag of cash? Nothing.
Ben Askren did not reveal exactly how much he's going to get paid to box Jake Paul, but he's dropped a hint that it was going to be more than what he made in the Octagon.
“They made me a nice offer, and it was something I wanted to do anyway, so I said sure. It’s probably going to be the biggest payday of my career,” Ben Askren told Brendan Schaub in an episode of Food Truck Diaries.
While it's nice to know that Ben Askren is going to get a huge post-retirement payday, a victory against the YouTube sensation would be the better prize. By agreeing to this fight, Ben Askren put his legacy and public image at risk. That has to be enough motivation to fuel him into a strong performance.
3. Ben Askren has a massive chip on his shoulder
Since getting knocked out by Jorge Masvidal in record time, Ben Askren has arguably been the laughing stock of the MMA online community. He was also humiliated by a post-prime Damian Maia, who sent him into retirement.
All professional athletes, especially fighters, are very competitive in nature. It's difficult to imagine that Ben Askren would like to quit the fight game on a losing effort.
On top of that, defeating Jake Paul would turn Ben Askren into "the guy who finally shut Jake Paul up" and no longer "the guy who Jorge Masvidal kneed into oblivion."
2. Ben Askren was trained by Freddie Roach
What's the best way to train for a boxing match in a relatively short amount of time? Enlist the help of a Hall of Fame boxing coach.
That's exactly what Ben Askren did when he tapped legendary trainer Freddie Roach to prepare him for his upcoming fight against Jake Paul.
“I’m trying to be as good of a boxer as I can,” Ben Askren told MMA Junkie. “I’m not under the impression that I’m gonna be a pro boxer. I’ve been top 10 in the world in four different sports. I know what it’s like to be world class. I’m not gonna be a world-class boxer, but I don’t gotta be a world-class boxer. I just gotta beat up Jake freaking Paul. That ain’t gonna be that hard, guys.”
1. It's difficult to imagine Ben Askren losing to Jake Paul
This is a short way to say that Ben Askren will win because of everything that's mentioned above. But beating Jake Paul isn't enough. If Ben Askren wants some semblance of public image rehabilitation, he has to beat Jake Paul convincingly.
More than that, many wouldn't want to live in the world in which Ben Askren - who at some point was considered as one of the best welterweights in MMA - is defeated by Jake Paul.
Ben Askren vs Jake Paul is set for April 17 on Triller.
Who do you think will emerge victorious when the two men finally meet? Let us know in the comments below.