Was Ben Askren a UFC champion?

OneFC Honor & Glory
OneFC Honor & Glory
Sayan Nag

Ben Askren never became a UFC champion. But while he might not have earned a world title strap under the UFC, 'Funky' is an elite martial artist, having reached the pinnacle with other major promotions. Before signing with the UFC, Ben Askren held the welterweight title in ONE Championship and Bellator.

Entering the UFC at the age of 34, Ben Askren had a short three-fight stint with the promotion. 'Funky' managed to controversially submit Robbie Lawler in his UFC debut and was submitted by Demian Maia in his last outing. However, the highlight of Ben Askren's career undoubtedly remains the flying knee he took from Jorge Masvidal that sent him crashing to the canvas in five seconds. The match broke the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history.

Ben Askren announced his retirement from the sport in 2019 as he had to undergo a hip replacement. Askren told Ariel Helwani -

"I'm retiring from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, and frankly I'm retiring from everything. I've been having hip problems and I finally had the discussion with my doctor and I actually got the MRI before my last fight and I need a hip replacement."

Ben Askren's last fight

Ben Askren came out of retirement to face YouTuber turned professional boxer Jake Paul in a pro boxing match. The bout was to be contested for eight rounds, with ten ounce gloves, under the Triller Fight Club banner.

While several fans were confident of Ben Askren emerging as the winner, going by his fighting credentials, things turned out differently for the former world champion. Askren was barely able to do anything before a flush right hand from Jake Paul knocked him down at 1:18 of the opening round. Although Ben Askren was able to get back on his feet within the ten count, referee Brian Stutts deemed him unfit to continue.

In his post-fight interview, Ben Askren said -

“I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down. People f****** hate Jake Paul and they wanted to see me make him miserable and I didn’t do that. So I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down.”

Read here: Who is Ben Askren's wife, Amy Askren?

Edited by James Sullivan
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