Ben Askren on potential MMA return: “Never say never”

Ben Askren, Conor McGregor, Nick Diaz
Image via @ufc on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight titleholder Ben Askren isn’t ruling out a return to mixed martial arts.

Askren retired from competition last year, after a knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal and a submission loss to Demian Maia in the UFC. Once his retirement was confirmed, he underwent a complete hip replacement.

Speaking on MMA Fighting‘s What The Heck show, Askren revealed that his hip replacement had an immediate impact on his physical condition.

“It’s called a Birmingham hip,” Askren explained. “What they do is get it all cleaned up, they cap the top of it, clean up the inside, put something on the inside, but yeah. I’m pain-free but there was a whole bunch of other things: I knew a bunch of pain on my one side, and my range of motion was tied to my hip issue, but I had all kinds of back problems.

“The day after the surgery, it was just gone,” Askren added. “It was wild. I wasn’t anticipating that. I just thought I had a bad back because I wrestled my whole life, and the morning after my surgery I woke up and my back pain was gone. I thought maybe it was because I was on pain pills, but it just never came back.”

“It’s one of those things that when you’re in it, you just feel like this is how it is. You don’t think about it much and you just accept that it’s the way it is. Now that I feel good, it’s like that’s the way that I am. It’s tremendous.”

With his hip feeling better, Askren, a former Olympian, intends to wrestle again. He’s also not ruling out a potential return to mixed martial arts, though it sounds like a bit of a long shot.

“I would say, never say never,” Askren stated. “I think it’s unlikely, but I’m gonna wrestle next year. Not WWE wrestle, but real wrestle. I need a reason to train and stay in shape. I love eating ice cream and everything else. I haven’t got on a scale in a year. I haven’t gotten on a scale since I fought Demian Maia over a year ago.

“If I don’t have a good reason to get on the scale, I’m not getting on the scale and I know that ain’t great for my health. I’m not super obese, but I’m definitely not in great shape right now and I can’t really train. I can ride a bike right now, that’s about all I can do with my hip but give me a few more months and I’ll be able to start getting on the mat. I’ll be able to start lightly doing some stuff.

“I’m definitely going to try and get some wrestling matches next year just so I can have a reason to stay in shape and I’m at the wrestling academy five days a week anyways so it won’t change that much.”

Do you think we’ll ever see Ben Askren back in the cage?

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