Ben Askren’s coach believes “Funky” would’ve held UFC gold if he joined the promotion sooner.
Askren ends his UFC run at 1-2. He defeated Robbie Lawler via submission in his promotional debut, but suffered a record-setting knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal and a submission defeat at the hands of Demian Maia. Askren announced his retirement due to hip replacement surgery.
Duke Roufus Wishes Askren Could’ve Joined UFC Sooner
Speaking to MMAFighting, Askren’s coach Duke Roufus expressed his belief that “Funky” would’ve captured UFC gold had he been with the promotion sooner.
“He would be champion,” Roufus told MMA Fighting. “He’d be the triple champ. ONE, Bellator, and UFC. I believe that. Unfortunately, circumstances and timing don’t work out. I’ve seen him do some special stuff in the cage and in practice ever since I met Ben, it’s just sometimes timing doesn’t line up in this industry.”
Roufus went on to blame former Bellator president Bjorn Rebney for the UFC’s failure to sign Askren years ago.
“The toughest thing is timing. I wish that Ben would have been given the opportunity when he should have, to enter the UFC when he was coming out of Bellator,” Roufus said. “Everything worked out the way it did, I blame Bjorn Rebney, the way he treated that situation that caused Ben to not matter to the UFC.
“That being said, I wish Ben would have come into the UFC at that time. I think we would have seen the real Ben. Guys like myself and Tyron Woodley have talked about the special Ben, at that time he was untouchable.”