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Ben Askren considering retirement after UFC Singapore loss, reveals he never really loved fighting

This past weekend (Sat., Oct. 26, 2019), Ben Askren suffered the second loss of his professional mixed marital arts (MMA) career after Demian Maia submitted him in the main event of UFC Fight Night 162 in Kallang, Singapore (watch highlights). Several months before the crushing defeat, Jorge Masvidal stopped “Funky” in a record-setting five seconds, handing him his first-ever loss after competing in the sport professionally for more than one decade.

So after suffering two crushing losses, one would think Askren’s love for the sport might diminish. But to hear “Funky” tell it, his love for mixed martial arts (MMA) wasn’t all that significant to begin with.

“Do I love fighting? I will give you the answer, and I never really loved fighting in the first place,” Askren said on a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “Never. I loved wrestling."

“Fighting for me, it was the intrigue of the challenge, can I be the best at this?” he continued. “I still get to kind of compete and use my physical body, which I really enjoy and it was a great way to make a living. So those were the three things I really enjoyed. But, I don’t know, I don’t think there was ever, for me, a love for the sport of MMA. If I feel similar to wrestling, I don’t. I like wrestling way more.”

Still, Askren says just because he didn’t have a ton of love for fighting he wasn’t going to slack, giving it his all to prove he was the best in the world. That said, “Funky” revealed he has considered retirement after back-to-back defeats.

“Retirement is something I’m definitely considering. I would be lying to you if I said I was not. It’s time-cost analysis. I have a lot of things I want to do in my life, I’m a really busy guy and I have a lot of things that I am passionate about and that I love.

“Not training specifically, but to and from, setting stuff up and spending 30 hours a week on MMA-related stuff, it’s like can I place my time better somewhere else,” he continued. “It is definitely a thought process that crosses my mind. That being said, all I ever wanted was the opportunity and I got my opportunity so it would be hard to be bitter or disgruntled in any way because I got the opportunity. I haven't been able to execute on that opportunity and that’s on me.”

“Part of me does want to fight more. Like I said, I thought I was doing really well in the Demian Maia fight. Part of me knows I can still compete at this level. Obviously, Demian Maia has fought in world title fights in multiple weight classes and his only losses in the last five years are two the three guys, Marty, Colby and Tyron,” he added.

“I don’t need to prove I’m a good fighter. I don’t need to make more money. I don’t need more fame. I don’t really want any of this things all that badly. What I wanted to do was to prove I was the best in the world. Now I’m looking at how far away that is and how long it takes me to get there and trying to weigh all of that out.”

As far as what his actual move will be, Askren says his feelings are currently mixed and he doesn’t have a clear-cut answer at the moment, but is confident he can still fight at the highest level.

Askren has already retired once before, so do you think the one that sticks is looming?

For complete UFC Singapore results and coverage click here.

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