Ben Askren suffered the first professional loss of his career at UFC 239. There, Jorge Masvidal knocked out “Funky” with a flying knee just five seconds into the fight. The nasty strike kept the Olympic wrestler unconscious for quite a while.
In Askren’s corner was his coach, Duke Roufus who admits it was scary to see that happen. Although he knows the loss sucks, the coach has to give credit where credit is due. He knows the flying knee was a risky move by Masvidal and knows had he been one second earlier or later, the fight could have gone totally different.
“Ben’s my friend, you see him hurt like that,” Roufus said to MMA Fighting. “But I gotta take my hat off to Jorge. I know Ben and Jorge don’t get along, I get along well with Jorge, I like Jorge a lot. So fair play, it was a great move, high risk, high reward. It was a very risky move, it paid off for him. I’m that type of guy that believes in ‘fortune favors the bold’ and he was quite bold on that move and it’s going to go down in history as one of the best moves ever in the UFC.
“It could have happened differently. He could have missed and Ben could have been wrestling and on top of Jorge, so we’re all gonna some days hate the fight game. Winning is awesome and losing you want to cry your eyes out, but Ben is a very resilient person. He has a special, special mindset and you saw the way he owns everything. That’s what I really like about Ben. He’s 100 percent transparent, I’ve never worked with someone like him, he’s just a special breed and this is only going to make him better.”
Now that he has suffered his professional loss, Duke Roufus believes that it will only make Askren better as he now knows he needs to work on somethings. He hopes “Funky” will take this time off to better his game and come back an even better fighter next time out.
“He’s one of those guys, he’s gonna be fine,” the coach said. “If anything, it might put a little bit more chip on his shoulder to work even harder than he’s ever worked before, which is pretty scary.”
When he will return is currently unknown, as he does have a lengthy suspension from the commission. But, Duke Roufus believes Ben Askren could very well fight again in 2019.
Who would you like to see Ben Askren fight when he returns to the Octagon? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/9/2019.