Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Askren Believes Covington Fight Is Crucial For Masvidal’s Popularity

Ben Askren doesn’t agree with Chael Sonnen that UFC 272 is a career-ending fight per se, but he knows Jorge Masvidal needs to defeat Colby Covington to regain his popularity.

Masvidal became a massive star in 2019 after knocking out Darren Till in London. He followed that up with a five-second flying knee KO over Ben Askren and then TKO’d Nate Diaz to become the BMF champ. Since then, however, he has suffered two-straight losses to Kamaru Usman for the belt and will now headline UFC 272 opposite Covington.

It’s a crucial fight, as the two are bitter rivals and Sonnen has said if “Gamebred” loses, it would be career-ending. Yet, for Askren, he doesn’t think it would end his career if he loses, but it would derail his hype and popularity a ton.

“Well Chael understands the fight business better than almost anyone so generally when he says things, there’s a lot of validity to it,” Askren said to MMA Island about Masvidal. “And so I would not say it’s a career-ender, but unfortunately, people will take offense to this, but I made him a huge star, right? It was at my expense. I don’t want to say he was a nobody before that, but he was kind of like a moderately popular fighter who kind of had maybe a hardcore following but wasn’t known to a broader audience and then the event with me happened, unfortunately, and he became let’s say, one of the top-five stars in the sport and then obviously he parlayed that with the Nate Diaz fight. 

Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington
USA Today and Sports Illustrated

“Nate Diaz is not the toughest opponent at welterweight but then once he got past that fight, the Usman fights were pretty non-competitive and he hasn’t really fought anyone else in the upper-echelon of that division,” Askren continued about Masvidal. “So Colby is another guy, the upper echelon of the division, and if he loses to him, I think it probably knocks his popularity a couple of levels and he’s got to go low. Now can he regain the popularity on some level? Possibly.”

As both Askren and Sonnen say, UFC 272 will be a massive fight for Jorge Masvidal’s star power.

Do you think UFC 272 is a career-ending fight for Jorge Masvidal if he loses?

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