Former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight titleholder Ben Askren doesn’t have a lot of regrets with respect to his MMA career, but there is one thing he’d do differently.
Askren, who retired after going 1-2 in the UFC in 2019, was asked by a fan if there is anything he wishes he could change about his MMA journey. He issued a lengthy and thoughtful response on Twitter.
In terms of the promotions he spent his career fighting for, Askren says he has no regrets.
“As far as the career path I took, had I been able to foresee the future, I don’t think so,” Askren said when asked if there’s anything he’d do differently (via MMA Fighting). “When I was 3-0 and Bellator offered me that deal, I thought that was a really great deal. I thought it was an outstanding opportunity, which it was. My time in Bellator went really well and at the end of that when my negotiation came up, it didn’t work out with Dana [White] and the UFC. To this day, I still don’t know why so I couldn’t change that.
“I found a great home in ONE Championship, everything went well there,” Askren added. “I retired, I came back. So from that perspective, I wouldn’t change anything.”
While Askren doesn’t regret the time he spent in Bellator and ONE, there is one thing he’d do differently if he could go back: focus a little more on his jiu jitsu.
“The one thing I think I would have changed if I could go back, I didn’t ever think I was going to fight until 2019,” Askren said. “I never thought that would be the case. I thought I’d be retired way before. I never really had a great jiu-jitsu coach until really the end of my career when I found Marc Laimon. I really enjoyed him.
“But before that, there was really a mix of different jiu-jitsu coaches at [Roufusport] and I think that my potential to choke people out was untapped,” Askren continued. “I was the best pinner in the modern era of college wrestling and I think if I would have went to work with say the [John] Danaher Death Squad or Marcelo Garcia, I could have really tapped into that at a much higher level,” Askren said. “But at the same time, I really liked being coached by Duke [Roufus], that was going well and I always thought, hey I’m good enough on the ground, I need to work on the striking end of the takedowns. I always thought hey I’m going to be done in a couple of years and then it just ended up so happening that I fought until effing 2019.
“If I would have put some more time into jiu-jitsu, I think I could have gotten better choking people,” Askren concluded. “Hey that’s how it goes sometimes. That’s what I would have done a little bit differently had I been able to go back and do it again.”
Do you think Ben Askren would have benefited from the tutelage of an elite BJJ coach?