Ben Askren spoke to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani about his UFC 239 defeat at the hands of Jorge Masvidal and how it compares to his shortcomings in the past.
If another knockout comes along in 2019 that can keep Masvidal’s five-second flying-knee from winning the Knockout Of The Year award, this writer will eat his hat.
It truly was one of those outlier victories that left us all wondering what exactly we had just witnessed. Say what you want about each man and your own personal prediction for how the fight would have gone otherwise, that was one in a million shot and one that will play on highlight reels for the next century.
Speaking in a recent interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Askren compared the defeat to his failure to capture Olympic gold at the 2008 Olympics – although he maintains that his road to UFC gold is not over just yet.
“It’s not as bad as it was in the Olympics when I realized I wouldn’t have another shot. This, I could have another shot.
“Nevertheless, you’re talking about a goal of nine years in the making, and I’m one fight away from getting there against a guy that I chose. I blew it. My life’s goal was to be the best in the world. I was this close.”
With a welterweight showdown against the famed grappler Demian Maia now seemingly in the works, Askren responded to those who have been critical of its booking – citing his own immense popularity and the hype behind his last two outings as more than enough of a reason to be excited.
“I think there’s obviously a portion of fans who like all parts of MMA, not just those who stand and bang. It’s kind of a myth that that’s all people want to watch.
“At the end of the day, I’m a non-stand-up guy, a boring wrestler. And I’ve also been the most anticipated fight on the biggest two cards of the year. So there’s some type of myth in there.”
Askren certainly lost quite a bit of momentum with this one. There’s no denying it.
Even still, people are quick to forget exactly how talented this man is and on any given night, that knee could have spelled disaster for whoever it was that shared the octagon with Gamebred.
A matchup against Demian Maia makes a lot of sense and if Ben is successful, it could act as the perfect springboard for him to reestablish his title-ambitions.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena