Retired MMA star Ben Askren is set to make his professional boxing debut against internet personality and boxer Jake Paul in an eight-round cruiserweight bout.
The Askren vs. Paul matchup will headline a boxing PPV that’ll take place at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 17th, 2021.
On a recent edition of ESPN MMA’s DC & Helwani show, MMA legend Daniel Cormier and his co-host Ariel Helwani addressed the Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul professional boxing match. The former UFC double champion said that he is rooting for 'Funky' to win the fight. DC went on to say that if Askren loses the fight then he will "slap" him.
“Listen, we have to,” Daniel Cormier said, noting that he, Ariel Helwani, and the rest of the MMA community ought to root for Ben Askren in Askren’s upcoming fight against Jake Paul.
Cormier added: “We are rooting for Ben Askren. I’m rooting for Ben Askren (because of) more than just the fact that we’re Olympic teammates and he’s my friend. I’m rooting for Ben Askren because Ben Askren’s going out there and representing Mixed Martial Arts against an internet celebrity. Like, Ben Askren has to get this done. And I’m not the only one. Dana White was going to bet Zab Judah a million dollars on Ben Askren!”
“Dana, this is crazy. This is crazy. Don’t go crazy, betting a million dollars in a boxing match with Ben. But Ben seems to be getting ready. Ben seems to be training…Dana’s got to be careful betting money on Ben in the boxing match because the kid trains. Jake Paul trains. Jake Paul seemed to know what he was doing, granted it was against Nate Robinson. But, you know, let’s go, Ben. Ben, you’ve got to get this done! Ben, you’ve got to get this done. I mean ultimately, it boils down to this – Ben Askren, you’ve got to get it done! You have to get this done.”
“So strong, bro, he (Ben Askren) is so strong. Like, people don’t realize, like, until Ben grabs you, how strong he is. And look, yeah, he lost to (Jorge) Masvidal in five seconds. But go back. Universally, people thought that was Ben Askren’s fight to lose, right? And so he got caught with a knee in like five seconds. They fight ten times, does that knee land, every single match? That fight could’ve went a lot different.”
“Ben needs to win this (Jake Paul) fight. I see Ben Askren afterwards, (if) he loses to Jake Paul, I’m slapping him…Ben Askren, you lose to Jake Paul, I’m slapping you. You’d better beat this dude. Don’t lose to Jake Paul. Go beat this dude, man. Come on, Ben. You got MMA, it’s USA wrestling, it’s everybody, we’re all watching. Everybody’s watching, Ben; everybody’s watching, Ben. And I’m telling you, I’ve spoken to a lot of people. A number of people want to slap you if you don’t get this done. So, you’d better get this fight won, man, I’m telling you,” said Daniel Cormier. (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Additionally, Daniel Cormier emphasized the fact that Ben Askren isn’t heading into the boxing match to lose, and will try his best to defeat Jake Paul.
Daniel Cormier feels Ben Askren has a chance against Jake Paul
As suggested by DC as well as many other combat sports fans and experts, Jake Paul has prior experience in the sport of professional boxing whereas 'Funky' doesn’t.
Nevertheless, the consensus is that Ben Askren’s overall combat sports experience – right from Olympic wrestling to MMA – could potentially be the difference-maker in his fight against Jake Paul.