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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Ben Askren following knockout loss at UFC 239?

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Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC 239 blew the roof off T-Mobile Arena last weekend (Sat., July 6, 2019) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Thiago Santos, who came up short despite a valiant effort against Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones (see it).

And Holly Holm, who was knocked out by women’s “champ-champ,” Amanda Nunes, in the first round of their co-headlining title fight (see it again here). But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Ben Askren.

His fight against Jorge Masvidal was over before it even began, getting knocked out in a record-setting five seconds after “Gamebred” smashed him with a flying knee to open — and close — things up (see it). That said, there isn’t much to dissect here except that Masvidal played it perfectly and used Askren’s wrestling against him, knowing a takedown shot from “Funky” would be present right away.

The loss is a devastating one for Askren, who was undefeated up until that point at 19-0-1, collecting multiple titles in different promotions along the way. In his short time with UFC, Askren quickly became a fan-favorite thanks to the humorous barbs he hurled at anyone who crossed his path (and even to those who didn’t). Sure, Askren was always known as a loquacious and talented athlete, he just didn’t have UFC’s bright lights to shoot him up the mixed martial arts (MMA) ladder.

Following his transition to UFC, he went from being someone company president, Dana White, didn’t want inside the Octagon, to a combatant most fans wanted to see compete. But, in the blink of an eye, it all came crumbling down when Masvidal executed his flying knee to perfection.

And it was no accident.

The momentum Askren collected since joining the company late last year is now gone, as are his hopes for a shot at the division strap ... at least for the time being. Despite his loss, Askren should be just fine moving forward. Will the knockout force him to change his ways every time a mic is put in front of his face? No, probably not. And that’s okay because that is who he is and that — along with his fighting skills — are what brought him to the big show.

Sure, he has a longer road to travel if he wants to get to a title fight, but his willingness to take on anyone will help him expedite the process. Up next for Askren should be a showdown against Darren Till.

The two welterweights have gone back-and-forth at each other for awhile now and it was a fight UFC was looking to book before Masvidal stepped in and cleaned Till’s clock last March in London (watch it).

Now that both “Gorilla” and “Funky” have fallen victim to the resurrection of “Street Jesus,” the timing of the match up couldn’t be better. Of course, Askren will likely have to sit out for a bit after suffering his brutal knockout loss.

What say you?

To get full UFC 239: “Jones vs Santos” results and play-by-play click here.