Shortly after suffering the first loss of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career courtesy of a Jorge Masvidal flying knee (see it again here), Ben Askren (unlike others) isn’t afraid to face the music. Indeed, less than 48 hours removed from a record-setting, five-second knockout loss at UFC 239, “Funky” was already busy conducting interviews. The wrestling powerhouse appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to talk about his loss, revealing that despite the scary knockout, he didn’t suffer any damage aside from going to sleep in record time.
“I got nothing to hide from. Things happen, losses happen. Saturday night was definitely not ideal for myself, but I got nothing to complain about,” Askren said. “There is a little part of my memory that is blank there. I remember being in the cage with him. I don’t really remember the flying knee and then when I can recall, I remember everything. So I was like, ‘Oh shit, I lost to Jorge Masvidal. This freaking sucks.’”
To hear Askren tell it, while the collision looked frightening to viewers, he didn’t even have as much as a headache, and his trip to the hospital revealed that he escaped injury-free.
“Everybody was more worried about me than I was about myself. I didn’t really have any pain of any sort. Not a headache, nothing in my face hurts. And so it was just like, ‘Oh Jesus, I lost to Jorge Masvidal.’ I could tell it was pretty fast because I wasn’t sweaty or sore or anything,” he added. “So it was fast, apparently I set a record of some sort.”
Askren admits he didn’t have his mind on straight completely until he was in the hospital and was informed by his wife of how it all went down. Interestingly enough, Askren says he told his team prior to walking out for the fight that he’d expect “Gamebred” to start off with something crazy. That said, the flying knee still caught him completely off guard.
“I was ready for knees and I told Duke in the back that I thought he’d try something crazy right away. If you remember the Till fight, he ran across and kicked him in the balls in the first four seconds. I had an inkling he was going to try something right away. And I’ve always thought, ‘Who the hell gets caught with a flying knee? Can’t you see that coming? It’s coming from so far away?’ But, when I watched the film, I don’t like Jorge at all, but that was a damn good flying knee. He hit it fast and explosive. He got some serious airtime on it and connected on the right spot,” he added.
“One side of me says, ‘How did I get knocked out in five seconds?’ And I’ve been in this game for 10 years and haven’t really been hit hard. I’ve never been rocked, never been dropped. So I was almost getting to the point where, I don’t want to say I was careless, but I kind of thought I was almost invincible or had a tough skull. It was a hell of a hit, but I was proved wrong on Saturday night.”
Furthermore, Askren shut down anyone saying Masvidal’s shot was all luck.
“I hear people saying it was lucky, it’s not luck. Will it happen 100 out of 100 times? Definitely not. But, landing a knee like that takes a lot of skill, I couldn’t do such a thing.”
“But, at the same time, I didn’t get my ass kicked for 15 minutes and I didn’t get stuffed on 13 takedowns and just get beat up for people to say, ‘He sucks.’ I got caught with a flying knee and got knocked out. There is not much I can do about it.”
As far as who he’ll fight next — and when — Askren admits he hasn’t thought that far ahead, but says his career is far from over. As far as the two extra shots Masvidal landed after he was out cold, Askren doesn’t really care, saying he knew what he signed up for from the jump.
You can’t hate that kind of attitude even if you tried.