The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s active roster dropped by one fighter on Monday after welterweight competitor Ben Askren (19-2, one no-contest) revealed his intentions to retire.
Askren leaves mixed martial arts on a two-fight losing streak and most recently main evented the Oct. 26 UFC on ESPN+ 20 card in Kallang, Singapore.
Heading into that day’s main event against Demian Maia, Askren was the No. 11 contender in the UFC’s Welterweight division.
He was, however, stopped by Maia, then the No. 10-ranked Welterweight in the UFC, via a third-round submission (rear-naked choke) in his third UFC fight after being traded away from ONE Championship in a deal which saw the UFC trade Demetrious Johnson to the Singapore-based MMA promotion.
It was the first such acquisition by a combat sports promotion.
The 35-year-old fighter announced he’d be retiring during Monday afternoon’s episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN+, citing his physician’s advice that he must undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.
Askren had this to say when making the retirement announcement on Helwani’s program:
“So, man, that’s it for me. I’ve been thinking about this for a week and what I was going to say, and I’m filled with gratitude for how great of a career I’ve been able to have, even though obviously in the end it did not turn out to go my way.”
Looking back on Askren’s career:
Askren’s career began in 2009, after appearing in the previous summer’s Olympics as a member of the United States wrestling team.
He defeated Josh Flowers in his first MMA fight by first-round TKO in Columbia, MO during Headhunter Productions: The Patriot Act on Feb. 8, 2009, followed by a reverse arm triangle-choke submission victory against Mitchell Harris that April in Headhunter Productions: The Patriot Act 2.
Following another submission victory (north-south choke) against Matt Delanoit in MAX Fights DM: Ballroom Brawl in August of 2009, Askren was signed by Bellator MMA and would make his debut on Apr. 15, 2010.
That night in Bellator 14, he stopped Ryan Thomas by first-round submission (guillotine choke) in Chicago in a Welterweight tournament quarterfinal fight.
The two would fight again 35 days later on May 15, 2010 in Bellator 19 during a Welterweight semifinal in Grand Prairie, TX, with Askren securing the first of four straight victories by unanimous decision.
He would go on to win that year’s Welterweight tournament and later became Bellator MMA Welterweight champion, defending the title twice more until leaving Bellator in 2013 with a 12-0 record.
Askren would go 6-0 with one no-contest in ONE Championship before the October 2018 trade that sent him to the UFC.
Slightly over four months after Askren was dealt to the UFC by ONE Championship, he made his UFC promotional debut against Robbie Lawler in UFC 235 in March on pay-per-view, winning by first-round submission (bulldog choke.)
Controversy ensued as the telecast footage showed that Robbie Lawler never formally tapped out and got up to plead his case to official Herb Dean.
It would prove to be the final victory in his 10-year MMA career, as this past July, he was knocked out by Jorge Masvidal in five seconds during UFC 239 on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Masvidal’s victory that night set a UFC promotional record for the fastest knockout in a fight.
On behalf of all of us at Armchair, best of luck to Ben Askren in his future endeavors and in his hip replacement surgery.
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