There’s little doubt that Ben Askren is one of the top welterweight fighters in the world, but his wrestling based fighting style and measured persona tend to make him something of a pariah amongst fans who prefer fighters that throw more caution to the wind.
Leading up to UFC 239’s match up with Jorge Masvidal, there was plenty of trash talk to get the haters primed for what would be a stunning KO loss for the former Olympian and ONE FC champ. Just 5 seconds into the bout, Masvidal landed a devastating flying knee, sending Ben straight to lala land and setting a new UFC record for fastest knockout (sorry Dwayne Ludwig).
After regaining consciousness, a visibly shaken Askren was taken to the hospital where tests confirmed his gray matter was intact. Askren later tweeted “well, that sucked” to his twitter followers, giving fans the first glimpse of how he was feeling about the loss, but it was this interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani where Ben gives his first real insight into how he’s doing overall.
One thing is for sure; there are some other fighters that could take some lessons from this exchange. Regardless of how you feel about Askren as a fighter, this is a great example of how a true champion deals with setbacks in life and it’s hard to think this interview won’t make him a hell of a lot of new fans.