Jake Paul will be making his long-awaited return to the boxing ring against retired MMA veteran Ben Askren on Friday, April 17, in Las Vegas.
No doubt, hardcore combat sports fans know who Ben Askren is. However, millions–many of which aren't necessarily fans of the fight scene–will be tuning in to watch the exhibition. YouTube star Jake Paul has a massive fan base who might not exactly have the slightest clue who Ben Askren is.
Recently, Ben Askren is most famous for being on the receiving end of a brutal KO highlight against UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal. But before that, Ben Askren was regarded as one of the best welterweights in MMA.
Ben Askren's wrestling career
In his early years, Ben Askren had his first taste of combat sports success as a collegiate wrestler. In 2006 and 2007, Ben Askren dominated the 174-pound weight class and won titles in both the Big 12 and the NCAA.
He then competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where he won his first match convincingly via pin. However, Ben Askren eventually lost in his round of 8 match, ending his hopes for a winning medal.
In 2009, Ben Askren transitioned to MMA. Not long after, he won the Bellator Season 2 Welterweight Tournament by sweeping all three rounds.
Ben Askren won the Bellator welterweight title in 2010 after completing a comeback win against Lyman Good. Ben Askren then went on an undfeated run which was protected during his time as ONE Championship welterweight titleholder.
On November 2018, it was announced that the UFC had traded Ben Askren in exchange for former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
Unfortunately, it was downhill for Ben Askren since then. He won his Octagon debut against welterweight standout Robby Lawler, but his victory was marred by a controversial stoppage.
After that, Ben Askren was knocked out by Jorge Masvidal who hit him with a perfectly-timed flying knee strike a few seconds into the fight. Ben Askren tried to redeem himself in 2019, when he faced Brazilian Damian Maia but he ended up losing via submission in round three. Several days later, Ben Askren announced that he is retiring from the sport.
Will he find redemption against Jake Paul?
Coming into Friday's fight against Jake Paul, fans can be certain that Ben Askren will be hungry for a win. Will he be able pull off an upset against the YouTube star-turned-professional boxer Jake Paul?
We'll find out soon.