A claim made by Ben Askren ahead of his highly anticipated bout with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 is that the two shared a history together, with Askren claiming he dominated Jorge Masivdal when the two trained together in 2008 (Transcript via Harcord)
“If I’m not mistaken, we trained with Jorge [Masvidal] back in December 2008,” Askren said. “You know, there are guys both in wrestling and in MMA whom you grab and feel that there is no power in them. And then you think: “It’s not possible that this man could do something to me. I will do whatever I want. I will dominate and humiliate. “And when I grabbed Jorge [Masvidal], I felt exactly that, although I was just beginning of my career in MMA. I don’t think something has changed now. He’s an incorrigible liar, so I’m sure he will present it in a different light.”
In an interview with ESPN, Masvidal did indeed present the training session in a different light, with some key consistencies with Askren’s version of events. Before shedding insight on what took place in training 10 years ago, Masvidal would take an opportunity to assess Askren’s character by being the one to bring this matter to light in the first place:
“I definitely got recollection of it, but it’s such a ho move to talk about training because I’m in American Top Team. 100 guys I have practiced with that we have in sparring tapes me KOing them, or stopping them, or whatever it is. I don’t talk about my sparring sessions. Most don’t. That’s the kind of person that he is,” Masvidal said.
“But I’ll tell you this much. He didn’t school me. And to talk right now is just he say, she say stuff. It’s just him spreading rumors or me spreading rumors. Saturday we’re going to find out. And after Saturday, I’ll tell the world what happened because I walked away feeling great, you know?”
Jorge Masvidal would then provide a detailed play by play of what took place in that training session from a decade ago:
“We started on the feet, MMA style. And I’ll tell you this much, he never took me down. I wasn’t able to control him, but I did get takedowns on him,” Masvidal said. “He outscrambled me in a neutral, and then I got another takedown on him where he scrambled and got on top of me and stayed on top of me for a little bit, for like a good minute, minute and a half.
“My coaches were like, man, you did pretty good. We didn’t think you were gonna do that well against him. And as you can tell, Ben has no athleticism whatsoever. All he can do is pray that it gets to like a sticky situation where his experience in mat wrestling comes out.
” Is he a better mat wrestler than me? For a fact,” Masvidal conceded. “And did he beat me when I was at 155 pounds and he was coming fresh off the Olympics in a wrestling setting? Maybe. But what does that say, though? I’m 170 pounds now, 10 years later, and we’re not in a grappling match. We’re not in a wrestling match. We’re actually in a fight, buddy. And he’s gonna fight somebody that wants to break his face.”
Fortunately for all of us, we will not need to rely on hearsay to find out who got the better of whom when Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren finally square off tonight at UFC 239 on pay per view. The main card kicks off at 10:00 PM ET and will stream exclusively on ESPN+.
How do you think tonight’s fight with Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal will play out?