Opinion: Remembering Ben Askren's 2019 run in UFC
Former ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren recently announced his retirement from MMA, coming off two straight losses in his professional career. Askren, who is still one of the more talked about figures in the MMA world, was hyped up as a major signing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship when the company traded Demetrius Johnson for him, as he was coming from a successful tenure in ONE Championship.
During the aftermath of a controversial victory during his debut bout against Robbie Lawler, Askren's name value in the UFC took off to another level in terms of fan interest.
It's already been well-documented about Askren's wrestling background, as well as his decorated accomplishments in professional MMA. However, with his charismatic personality that comes with the package, Askren was able to garner more interest during his entire run with the UFC, let alone from just his match with Lawler.
As Askren was originally slated for a rematch against Lawler, he was then given Jorge Masvidal as his next opponent at UFC 239. Masvidal eventually gave him his first professional loss with the fastest knockout in history.
Obviously it wasn't the result that Askren wanted, but because of his name-value and the hype surrounding that match, Masdival became a breakout star following his tremendous victory.
In a sense, Askren can be somewhat credited for the rise of Masdival in the UFC, considering that many critics argue that the promotion has fewer fighters with star-power over the years. With that said, after the fallout of his match with Demian Maia at a Fight Night event last October, some felt that his arrival to the promotion was over-hyped as he garnered a UFC record of one win and two losses.
Although it's debatable that his stint with the UFC was underwhelming, to say the least, Askren, throughout his tenure, remained a figure of interest for MMA fans, whether he was supported or hated in such way.
And even if some may feel that he is an overrated fighter, no one can deny how much he has accomplished in combat sports - from his Olympic days as a wrestler to the championships he's won as a professional fighter. Now that he's officially retired, Askren will truly be remembered for the impact he's had in MMA.Published 22 Nov 2019, 10:47 IST