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Despite rocky start to Ben Askren’s UFC career, Dana White has no regrets trading for ‘Funky’

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UFC Seasonal Press Conference Photo by Carmen Mandato/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ben Askren suffered his second straight loss this past Saturday (Oct. 26, 2019), getting choked out by Demian Maia in the main event of UFC Fight Night 162 in Kallang, Singapore (see it here). The loss brought his record to 1-2 inside the Octagon during his short stint thus far after beginning his mixed martial arts (MMA) career a near-perfect 19-0-1 over a 10-year span.

Interestingly enough, two days ago (Oct. 27) marked the one-year anniversary that Askren was shipped over from ONE Championship to UFC in exchange for former long-time Flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, who is undefeated (3-0) so far under his new promotion’s umbrella.

So when asked if he had any regrets about pulling the trigger on the historic deal, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White didn’t hold back.

“No regrets whatsoever. That fight was incredible over the weekend. I loved that fight. Fun fight to watch,” White told The Schmo. According to Dana, while he may not have a winning record inside the Octagon, “Funky” has been invaluable for the promotion.

“Ben brought a lot of hype to the UFC. People were excited about him coming in and fighting and seeing what he could do. If it wasn’t for that fight with him and Masvidal, it’s what built Masvidal into what he is right now and going in to this weekend. Without Askren, that doesn’t happen.”

Indeed, Askren suffered a five-second knockout loss to Masvidal at UFC 239, which not only propelled “Gamebred” into another level popularity-wise, but opened the door for Nate Diaz to call him out at UFC 241.

As far as what the future holds for Askren, White is unsure what the wrestling powerhouse’s next move will be, but did clarify that despite popular belief, he takes no joy in seeing him struggle given their past differences.

“I haven't talked to him since the fight. People always think there is some type of animosity between us and that I get excited if he doesn’t win a fight. I like Ben Askren. I like what Ben Askren has brought to UFC in the three fights that he’s been here and we will see what’s next for him.”

For his part, Askren recently revealed that he has considered retiring from the fight game to focus on other aspects of his life.