Former ONE and Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren experienced the first loss of his professional MMA career at UFC 239, and in highlight reel fashion. The wrestler was switched off by a devastating Jorge Masvidal flying knee just five seconds into their main card encounter.
It was the fastest knockout in UFC history.
Speaking to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter after the UFC 239 card wrapped up, UFC President Dana White weighed in on the future of Ben Askren after this brutal knockout loss.
He reminds that Askren also struggled in his UFC debut, a submission win over Robbie Lawler, but admitted that he respects the 35-year-old wrestler.
Dana White on whether Jorge Masvidal could be next in line for a welterweight title shot and whether Ben Askren can bounce back from such a devastating loss pic.twitter.com/IigZeuoQcg
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) July 7, 2019
“I like Ben,” White said of the former ONE and Bellator champ, who he’s had plenty of animosity toward in the past. “We finally got a deal done, he came [to the UFC], we had fun. He’s had a rough, two-fight run in the UFC. What I do love about the kid and respect is he’s not afraid to fight anybody. He’s calling out all the big dogs in the UFC, and was willing to fight anybody.”
Dana White also weighed in on what’s next for the man who vanquished Ben Askren, Jorge Masvidal. He was as impressed as the rest of us by Masvidal’s blitzkrieg win, but was reluctant to commit to giving him the next crack at UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman.
“The fight just ended, and I wouldn’t create a pecking order [behind Usman] right now,” he said. “[Masvidal] looked good tonight in an amazing performance and the fastest knockout ever. We’ll see what happens. It’s all gonna depend on when is Usman healthy? When is he 100%? When can he go into training camp and start training for a fight? Then we’ll figure out what’s next.”
With this loss, Ben Askren is now 19-1 as a professional mixed martial artist. Where do you think he goes from here?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/8/2019.