Ben Askren believes UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman had a golden opportunity to gain some traction with the fans when he fought Colby Covington at UFC 245 last December.
By Askren’s estimation, Covington is arguably the most hated fighter in MMA at present. As a result, he feels Usman could have gained some real popularity if he’d played the good guy in the lead-up to his fight with Covington.
Yet Askren feels the UFC champ failed to do so.
“I think Usman is like the worst promoter in the history of mixed martial arts,” Askren said on Submission Radio recently (transcript via MMA News). “Because for me, here’s the thing: Colby is literally the most hated promoter, personality, fighter in the UFC, right? And so when Usman is going against him, it’s like OK, you’ve got the bad guy Colby, and then you’ve got Usman – who, all he has to do is he’s got to play the good guy and everyone’s gonna love him and everyone’s gonna cheer for him, right?
“But Usman just could not figure out how to make people like him,” Askren added. “Like, he just could not figure it out. It would be so easy to make Colby the bad guy – he’s already the bad guy. He already plays the bad guy. It’s so simple. Just play into that and you’re the good guy – you’re the face, everyone loves you. But Usman couldn’t figure out how to do it.”
Ben Askren, who is the former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion, retired late last year after a three-fight stint in the UFC. While he stood out as one of the UFC’s best welterweights for a short period, he never got the opportunity to settle his differences with Kamaru Usman in the Octagon.
What do you think of these comments from Ben Askren? How do you think Kamaru Usman will respond?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/19/2020.