Ben Askren has officially retired from MMA. The former Bellator and ONE champion made the decision to hang up his gloves after suffering from a hip injury. ‘Funky’ made waves when he signed for the UFC in 2018, but it’s fair to say it hasn’t gone the way he expected.
He scraped by Robbie Lawlor on his debut after a contentious submission. However, Lawlor almost knocked him out by smashing him on his head. Then Jorge Masvidal brutally knocked him out in five seconds. Finally, Damian Maia choked him out in his most recent fight.
Askren confirmed to Ariel Helwani that he is walking away from the sport. Or hobbling away, because he needs to get a hip replacement. Read on to find out more about his final retirement.
The two-promotion welterweight champion previously retired in 2017. However, he was lured back to action by the UFC. Now though, he’s going to quit for good. At the age of 35, it’s probably a good idea. Askren is already out of title contention and would just be fighting increasingly obscure opponents.
“I’m retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts and frankly I’m retiring from everything,” Askren told ESPN. “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.
Askren insists that he has no regrets. He’s still happy with how his career went. He arrived at the UFC late and his game didn’t evolve enough to hang with the most dangerous fighters on the planet. Will his legacy be forever defined by that flying knee? He told Ariel Helwani:
“That’s it for me. I’ve been thinking about this for a week and kind of what I was going to say. Really I’ve just been filled with gratitude for how great of a career I’ve been able to have, even though in the end it did not turn out to go my way.”
The Iowa native confirmed that he will have to get a hip replacement. This effectively means that he wouldn’t be able to fight again. It’s an ignominious ending to a long career. You’ve got to respect any man who is brave enough to step into a cage though. Askren will have no shortage of media offers. He’s one of the most entertaining men in the sport. His doctor told him that it was time to put his body first.
“After my fight, I talked to him and he said ‘you need a hip replacement’,” Askren revealed. “He doesn’t do that specific procedure. I’ve talked to three or four doctors and all of them are pretty much once you do that, you’re pretty much done.”
It’s an unfortunate ending to his career, but ‘Funky’ made fans when he came to the UFC. This is not the way he would have wanted to walk away but the fight game is cruel. Finally, he can let his body heal and move onto the next stage of his life. It was fun while it lasted.