UFC News: Ben Askren's coach claims he would have been untouchable had he joined earlier
With Ben Askren calling time on his professional MMA career due to a hip replacement surgery he is about to undergo, we can't help thinking how his stint with the UFC would have panned out had he joined the promotion during the peak of his career.
Looking back at The Funky's UFC career
The Funky signed with the UFC back in 2018 as an undefeated fighter who had won world titles in other high profile promotions such as ONE Championship and Bellator. In his short-lived stint with the UFC, all of Askren's fights were memorable to say the least, although he didn't live up to his reputation.
He finished his UFC career with one controversial win against Robbie Lawler and two losses to Jorge Masvidal and MMA veteran Demian Maia. The loss against Masvidal will be etched forever in the minds of fight fans as Masvidal landing a spectacular flying knee that knocked Askren out cold within five seconds of the first round.
Askren would have been unstoppable had he signed with UFC a few years ago, says Roufus
Had Askren competed in the UFC before coming out of retirement, he probably would have fared much better. At least that is what his coach Duke Roufus believes. Speaking to MMA Fighting, Roufus said that Askren would have won titles in the UFC had he signed a few years earlier.
“He would be champion. He’d be the triple champ. ONE, Bellator, and UFC. I believe that. Unfortunately, circumstances and timing don’t work out. I’ve seen him do some special stuff in the cage and in practice ever since I met Ben, it’s just sometimes timing doesn’t line up in this industry.”
“The toughest thing is timing. I wish that Ben would have been given the opportunity when he should have, to enter the UFC when he was coming out of Bellator. That being said, I wish Ben would have come into the UFC at that time. I think we would have seen the real Ben. Guys like myself and Tyron Woodley have talked about the special Ben, at that time he was untouchable.”
Roufus has immense respect for the former Olympian and his achievements in the world of MMA over his decade long career.
“His stats are wonderful. Two-time world champion. Impressive record. What I like about Ben is the person he is as a combat sports athlete. He grew to be a big, popular fighter, and still has his own voice and personality at the same time. He never backed down from anyone and that’s a really powerful statement. Ben doesn’t budge from what he believes in and what he feels and I respect that about him so much.”Published 25 Nov 2019, 18:40 IST