Earlier this month, former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren announced his retirement from MMA. This week, Jorge Masvidal — easily Askren’s most high-profile rival in the UFC —gave his take on that retirement.
Despite the war of words that raged between Askren and Masvidal, and the violent way with which their fight ended, Masvidal surprisingly tipped his hat to Askren and shared his belief that the wrestler shouldn’t have retired so soon.
“He brings in his own crowd, — he was a stand-out in wrestling, especially collegiate wrestling, so he did have a fan base. He did some things over at Bellator and on One FC [One Championship],” Masvidal told Kevin Iole (via South China Morning Post). “So he did have a crowd that he brought over with him to the sport, a different type of crowd.”
“But what I don’t like is we’re fighters. We’re supposed to fight, man. You got two losses, it’s no big deal my brother. Get back on the high horse, get to work and figure it out, man.”
When Askren retired, he explained that the need for a hip replacement was a big part of the reason for his decision. Masvidal understands the toll fighting takes on a body, but reiterated that two losses shouldn’t drive a fighter to retire.
“I’ve heard he has hip issues and stuff so I can’t comment on how bad his body is holding up or not,” Masvidal said. “But as far as fighting goes, two losses can’t discourage you if you’re a fighter.”
Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren fought at UFC 239 in July. The bout lasted just five seconds, ask Masvidal flattened his rival with a flying knee in just five seconds.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 11/27/2019.