Ben Askren announced on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show that he would be leaving the sport.
Ben Askren cited an upcoming hip replacement as contributing to his desire to retire from the sport. You can watch a clip of his interview on Twitter here:
"I'm retired from the sport of mixed martial arts and frankly, I'm retired from everything."@Benaskren cites needing a hip replacement as a factor in his retirement (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/OZLG2ZDTBj
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 18, 2019
Askren started as a college wrestler and was renowned within that sport and the UFC for his grappling. He qualified for the 2008 Olympic wrestling team, winning his first match and losing his second and narrowly missing a bronze medal. Although ranked #12 in the UFC’s welterweight division, his impact on the sport was felt by many who saw him as an inspiration and a fighter who stayed true to to his natural talents. As a former wrestler, Askren was known to take opponents to the ground in fights whether that was a good idea or not. Despite achieving international success as a ONE Welterweight Champion and Bellator Welterweight Champion, Askren only saw three fights in the UFC. Askren had been asking to join the UFC since age 29, fresh off his Bellator Championship win, so there’s clearly age factors here beyond his control.
Askren had some bittersweet ups and downs in his brief UFC Career. UFC 239 was the fastest knockout in UFC history, for example. But those who really admired Askren’s style, his unique approach to the sport, saw him for what he was — a fighter looking to challenge himself, always. We’re humbled and impressed by the long wrestling career Askren has had and thank him for his contributions to the world of MMA.