Ben Askren will only end his retirement for one man.
The former Bellator and ONE Championship Welterweight champion, Askren, had a short but very memorable run in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), competing three times in 2019. Unfortunately for “Funky,” he went 1-2 to close out his overall 19-2 (1 no contest) career with losses to Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia, respectively.
Masvidal was undeniably Askren’s greatest UFC rival of the three fighters he fought and the trash talk lasted longer than the five-second fight that ended via a “Gamebred” flying knee. Askren, 39, has said in recent months that he’d only come out of retirement to rematch the more recently retired Masvidal. However, Masvidal countered that sentiment with a proposal to box rather than do mixed martial arts (MMA) again.
“Probably not,” Askren responded on Funky & The Champ when asked by Daniel Cormier if he thinks Masvidal will fight him. “He’s not scared of fighting and he’s not scared of the pain, right? But there’s multiple fears. What he’s scared of is being embarrassed, right? If I rub his face in the mat... I’ll pull his hair, I’ll rub his face in the ground for about 15 minutes and leave him with some mat burns, he’ll be real embarrassed.”
MMA Mania has confirmed with sources since the banter between the two re-heated that Masvidal and his Gamebred fighting promotion offered Askren a contract for a boxing match. Askren declined by saying, “Not no but absof—kinglutely not.”
Per sources, Jorge Masvidal and his Gamebred promotion offered Ben Askren a contract for a boxing match between the two.— Drake Riggs (@DrakeRiggs_) July 26, 2023
Askren responded saying, “Not no but absofuckinglutely not.” pic.twitter.com/quC6cmNrAV
Masvidal capped off his career with a unanimous decision defeat to Gilbert Burns in the co-main event of UFC 287 in Miami, Florida this past April 2023. The loss extended the original Baddest Motherf—ker (BMF) titleholder’s losing skid to four, leading him to fully focus on his role as a fight promoter.
“I was gonna leave Jorge alone because he retired and then he said he wanted to box me and I’m like, ‘Oh my god,’” Askren said. “Yes [I want to fight Masvidal]. When he said, ‘I’m retired,’ okay, whatever. That’s the only fight I want, I don’t want to fight anyone else. I don’t really like fighting anymore. Coach wrestling, that’s it.
“If he wants to fight, I would love to fight him,” he continued. “And the first time, what I had to resort to ... because, Daniel, we all have egos and the one thing that drives fighters crazy is — if you fight in a cage, you’re probably a really tough guy — when you start being really dismissive and just treating him like a b—ch. People can’t handle that and they gotta pump their feathers out and they gotta be like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna get you.’ And that was what I had to do the first time so I might have to start doing that again.”