Ben Askren announced his retirement on Monday, just over a year after joining the UFC with considerable fanfare.
"I'm withdrawing from the sport of MMA," Askren said during Ariel Helani's MMA Show on ESPN. "Honestly, I'm getting away from it all."
Askren, who said he has had problems with his hip joints in the last 3-5 years, has lost back-to-back losses, the latest for Demian Maya at UFC Singapore Main Event on October 26
"I'm having problems with my hip and I finally had a discussion with my doctor … and I need a (left) hip," Askren said. "So, man, this is for me. I think about this for a week and what I would say, and I am grateful for how great a career I was able to have, even though it obviously didn't turn out to me in the end. go. "
Askren, 35, quickly gained fame in the UFC, becoming one of the biggest lightning rods in the sport because of his quick wit and willingness to engage anyone in the trash talk ̵
The UFC acquired Askren as part of an unprecedented trade in ONE Championship in October 2018. The UFC has sent former heavyweight champion Demetrius Johnson to ONE in Asia in exchange for Askren. It was not a traditional trade like what would be common in team sports. The UFC has agreed to release Johnson, who has come to his new deal with ONE. ONE did the same with Askren, who signed with the UFC.
Before Trade, Askren retired from ONE after TKO's 57-second victory over Shinya Aoki on November 24, 2017. Former Olympic wrestler in 2008 and two-time NCAA champion at the University of Missouri, Askren has always wanted to bet on trading with the UFC to prove that it is the best middleweight in the world. But since the UFC turned him in when he was a free agent in 2013, Askren reconciled with the possibility that he would never compete in the promotion.
Askren held the Bellator light heavyweight title from 2010 to 2013 and went on to become ONE light heavyweight champion from 2014 to 2017.
In the much anticipated Ascren debut on March 2, he beat former champion Robbie Lawler by feed (bulldog choke) at 3:20 of round one. The victory was controversial. Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight when he thought Lawler was unconscious in the throttle, but Lawler immediately jumped out when Askren released him and argued. Lawler had picked up Askren earlier in that round and nearly finished him after a brutal blow to Askren's head and neck.
After defeating Lawler, Askren was close to a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title. He could win it if he defeated Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 on July 6th. Instead, Masvidal knocked out Askren for five seconds with a running knee. It was the fastest knockout in UFC history and propelled Maswidal to stellar position.
Ascren (19-2, 1 NK), a Wisconsin native, seemed to be back on track against Maya in what was heralded as a battle of the two top grapples in all mixed martial arts. Maia got the better of Funky by passing the rear goal throttle at 3:54 of the third round.
"I don't want people to think that I use [my hip injury] as a reason why I lost." Askren said. "I lost because I wasn't good enough, plain and simple. My opponents beat me, they were better than I am. And I want to say that out."
Askren's legacy includes a legendary career in the fight for an amateur and an impressive resume at the MMA. He still holds the Bellator record for most successful and consistent title defenses in four. Askren has wins over the likes of Lawler, the current welterweight champion at Bellat Douglas Lima, UFC veteran Liman Good and Aoki.
Perhaps more important than his victories was his ability to connect with the fan base and show the class in defeat. In just 13 months with the UFC, Askren has become one of the most popular and listed wrestlers on the list.
"I really felt that day because I started thinking about all the great experiences I had and how lucky I had to succeed," Askren said.