A former Olympic wrestler, Ben Askren put his grappling skills to good use when he transitioned to MMA and became Bellator’s dominant 170-pound champion, defending his belt four times. By the time he left in 2013, Askren’s record was 12-0. He went on to win ONE FC’s welterweight title and notched up another four defenses before announcing his retirement.
Then the UFC finally signed Askren. He immediately began calling out everybody in the division, though some observers questioned whether his 18-0 (+1 NC) record really held up to scrutiny. It featured few big-name victories aside from a few notables like Shinya Aoki, Andrey Koreshkov and Douglas Lima.
Askren came close to being stopped almost immediately by a Robbie Lawler slam and follow-up punches in his UFC debut. He rallied to win by a controversial bulldog choke after the referee mistakenly thought his opponent was unconscious. It was an inauspicious start for Askren. But worse was to come when Jorge Masvidal set a new UFC record when he KO’d ‘Funky’ with a flying knee in just five seconds.
Askren’s next fight seemed like a blessing. He had a chance to show off his grappling skills against BJJ ace Demian Maia. But the Brazilian submitted him in the third round. Just days later, he’s admitted he’s now considering retiring from his MMA career.