Over the weekend, Ben Askren lost via record-breaking flying knee knockout to Jorge Masvidal (highlights here) on the main card of UFC 239 from Las Vegas.
‘Gamebred’ came out with the jaw-dropping strike right out of the gate, shocking everyone watching. But despite the surprise nature of the strike, it was apparently a maneuver that Masvidal and coach Mike Brown had been practicing. It could earn the longtime veteran a title shot next, although that’s up in the air.
As for Askren, the fight was just as impactful but in reverse. ‘Funky’ had stormed onto the UFC scene over the past eight months by becoming perhaps the most outspoken trash talker on the roster. There’s little doubt it worked for him. He instantly became one of the most polarizing personalities in the fight game. But as we’ve seen countless times before, that works as long as a competitor keeps winning.
Askren did not. That was only amplified by the fact his first mixed martial arts loss was a five-second knockout certain to be immortalized on highlight reels forever. So ‘Funky’ was predictably bombarded by all of the armchair quarterbacks on social media. Bellator fighter Heather Hardy, who perhaps knows a thing or two about being promoted too rapidly, came to his defense. She made a good point.
But Askren responded with a brutally honest reply of his own:
A Strange Spot
Despite his nonstop trash talk, Askren is a competitor at his core. He was a title-winning wrestler at the University of Missouri in college and went on to win the Bellator and ONE welterweight titles in MMA. He’s certainly facing a ton of criticism based on his UFC run, however.
His first UFC victory over Robbie Lawler last March was met with the utmost controversy. Many thought he should grant “Ruthless” a rematch due to the view that the bout had been stopped prematurely because of Lawler erroneously going out. But he got what he wanted in the form of the Masvidal vs. Darren Till winner. Instead of leapfrogging the title queue at 170, he paid the price for his trash talk.
That’s the double-edged sword of talking so much in MMA, and Askren appears to know it. At least he’s able to admit where something blew up in his face. ‘Funky’s’ next move is unknown. We’ll have more of his post-fight reactions and quotes from UFC 239 for you today, so stay tuned.
Is Askren handling his vicious knockout loss the best way he can?