Ben Askren announced on Monday that we would be retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts for good following his return to the sport after getting traded to the UFC. Askren was once undefeated and on a mission to take the UFC by storm and prove he was the best in the sport. Askren disappointed in this attempt by going 1-2 in his return to the sport.
Askren started his career as a wrestler, where he made the NCAA Championship all four years, winning in his junior and senior years of college. Askren then became a United States Olympian for a short period of time before beginning his mixed martial arts career.
Askren began like most young fighters, in a local promotion in Columbia, Mo., where he went to college, but he was quickly signed by Bellator in 2010. In Bellator, Askren moved up the ranks quickly on his way to a championship bout that came in just four fights. Askren defeated Lyman Good to win his first MMA Championship, but this was nowhere near the end for him.
Askren successfully defended his Bellator title four straight times before seeing his contract with the promotion run out while still maintaining an undefeated record. At this point, having defended his title four times in a large promotion, Askren was a big free agent who was eventually signed.
On The Move
ONE Championship stepped up to the plate and signed Askren to the roster for six fights that ended up all being championship fights within the promotion. Askren ended his time with the ONE Championship with a record of 6-0 and one no0contest after Askren committed an accidental eye poke that forced the fight to end prematurely.
In his retirement at that time, Askren left the door open to proving that he is the best welterweight in the world, alluding to a potential contract with the UFC.
Askren was eventually traded to the UFC for Demetrious Johnson, and Askren came out of retirement in an attempt to get to a welterweight title fight. Things didn’t go as planned for Askren in the UFC in many ways; most importantly was the fact that he struggled and ended his UFC career at 1-2, including a viral knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal in five seconds. There is no doubt that these poor results had an impact on Askren’s decision to retire.
Askren also mentioned hip issues that he has dealt with for a long time that now appear to be very serious. He claimed that these hip issues had been around for three to five years, but his full-fledged training for elite competition once he joined the UFC has only made them worse. Askren likely needs hip replacement surgery, which is no joke and would likely limit Askren from returning to peak form.
I would not expect a return to the sport from Askren following a major injury after losing twice in three UFC bouts. Askren is an elite athlete and is only interested in competing at the highest level in the sport. At age 35 and with a hip replacement coming, I think a return at any point would be really unlikely.