Ben Askren has had one of the more celebrated careers in mixed martial arts history — but *that* loss to Jorge Masvidal still doesn’t sit well with him.
Askren was a perfect (19-0) in his career when he stepped for in the cage with Masvidal at UFC 239 in July 2019 but just seconds later was unconscious on the canvas after Masvidal landed perhaps the most celebrated flying knee in combat sports history. Askren, who also lost his next bout by submission to Demian Maia, retired from the sport soon after — but if he was to be handed an opportunity for a do-over against his old rival, he says he would be more than up for it.
“Listen, if Dana called me and said, ‘Jorge Masvidal, UFC 300,’ I don’t give a damn — I’m out of retirement,” Askren said to Daniel Cormier on the latter’s YouTube channel, as noted by MMA Fighting. “I’ll fight him. I don’t care. I would love to.”
Askren, the former Bellator and ONE champion who was plagued by hip issues for the last part of his career, doesn’t feel that Masvidal, who has also retired, would be quite so happy to take up the challenge, however.
“But he’ll never say yes to that, unless he loses some more money or something,” Askren predicted. “But it would be great. I would love to. It’s one of those things. I don’t want to be begging and groveling for it. It’s unlikely to happen. So it’s like, if someone calls me and says it’s going to happen, OK, I’m there. If they don’t, I’m just going to live my life.”
Askren was last seen in a competitive environment losing his professional boxing debut to Jake Paul in April 2021 by first-round knockout in a fight in which his striking prowess was heavily criticised. But despite not working on his hands since then, Askren says that his world class wrestling ability would be enough for him to triumph over Masvidal in a possible sequel to their rivalry.
“I’m ready,” Askren said. “I stay in shape. I’m wrestling a lot. I don’t strike much — I don’t strike at all, I just wrestle. But I’m in good shape. If he wants to fight, great. But I’m not going to campaign for it.”