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Ben Askren takes credit for Jorge Masvidal’s success — ‘I put the spotlight on him, I let him shine’

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight title contender Jorge Masvidal has been competing in mixed martial arts (MMA) for over 17 years and made his Octagon debut all the way back in 2013, but never really became a bankable star until early last year.

In fact, “Gamebred” barely cracked the Top 10 in Feb. 2019.

Now sitting comfortably in the No. 3 spot with a “BMF” title around his waist, Masvidal (35-13) will challenge Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title in the UFC 251 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this Sat. night (July 11) on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

What can Ben Askren say except “you’re welcome.”

“I put the spotlight on him,” Askren told ESPN (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “His Twitter followers, his Instagram followers, it went five (times higher). I put the spotlight on him. I played the foil to him. I let him shine, unfortunately. I thought I was going to crush him. When he said ‘super necessary,’ which I feel like he was kind of a douche for punching me when I was already unconscious – that was just unnecessary, but he says it was ‘super necessary.’”

Masvidal stiffened Askren with a jumping knee to end their UFC 239 showdown in just five seconds, part of a torrid three-fight winning streak for “Gamebred.” His other two victims included Darren Till (UFC London) and Nate Diaz (UFC 244).

“You know what? It’s pretty funny,” Askren continued. “I was the dude who got punched, and listen, that was Jorge being real, and that was kind of funny. Even though it was me, and I thought he was a douchebag for punching me when I was unconscious, it was kind of funny. So, yes, there is a certain authenticity to Jorge that people really, really enjoy.”

Whether or not that authenticity translates to a world title remains to be seen and Masvidal certainly has his work cut out for him. Usman (16-1) is undefeated inside the Octagon, having already defeated the likes of Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington, among others.

To see who else is fighting at UFC 251 click here.