Ben Askren is ready for the ridicule he’s going to face after being knocked out by Jake Paul.
After coming out of retirement and spending three months in training, the former Bellator and ONE champion didn’t even make it to the two-minute mark after Paul blasted him with a monstrous right hand in the opening round. Askren dropped to the canvas, and despite making it back to his feet before the 10-count was finished, the referee would not allow him to continue.
Afterwards, Askren made no excuses for his loss and invited the criticism that’s surely coming his way.
“It’s probably deserved,” Askren said when asked about the ridicule he’ll receive following the loss. “Because I got knocked out by Jake Paul. It’s f*king embarrassing.
“I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down. People f*cking hate Jake Paul and they wanted to see me make him miserable and I didn’t do that. So I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down.”
Askren barely got a chance to do much of anything in the fight with Paul before the right hand put him on the canvas during an early exchange. The former Olympic wrestler did try to clinch with Paul to negate the size and reach advantage from his opponent but the referee was quick to break them apart whenever that happened.
He also recognized a mistake he made when Paul was setting up his combinations and that ultimately led to the knockout blow.
“I heard my coach Mike [Rhodes] he was saying I was definitely overreacting to his feints and that was the beginning of the end,” Askren said. “I probably shouldn’t have reacted that hard to the feints. If that ref would have let me grapple a little longer, maybe that would have helped out a little bit but at the end of the day no excuses. I got in a f*cking boxing match and it didn’t go so well.”
While Askren complained about the stoppage in the ring, he didn’t hold any ill will towards the referee for waiving off the fight after the lone knockdown.
“I thought I was fine but whatever, that’s his job,” Askren said. “If that’s what he felt, that’s what he did.”
In the lead up to the fight, Askren and Paul got into some nasty verbal exchanges not to mention more than a few fiery messages on social media.
By the time they clashed on Saturday night it felt like a personal grudge was being settled but typically boxers and mixed martial artists are able to put the rivalry behind them once the fight is over.
That doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to Askren’s feelings towards Paul, at least in regards to his legitimacy as a real fighter.
“No, I don’t [respect him],” Askren said. “Cause I want to see him get into a fight. I’m sorry I let you down, I didn’t get into a fight with him. He hit me early. As I said, that’s when you respect someone, when you see what they’re made of.
“I was hoping that you guys would get to see that tonight and I let a lot of people down. They didn’t get to see that.”
For his part, Askren has no plans to test himself in the boxing ring again much less make a comeback to MMA and it doesn’t appear life will change much for him now except his bank account will grow exponentially.
“I’m going to take about a million dollars home in the bank and I’m going to coach some wrestling,” Askren said. “I don’t really give a sh*t. There’s some pizza waiting in my hotel room. I’m going to go eat that. I’m going to fly home and hang out with my kids tomorrow and Monday I’ll probably be at wrestling practice.”
Following the event, Paul wasn’t ready to commit to any future opponents after moving to 3-0 in his career but if he wants to face another MMA fighter, Askren has a suggestion.
“I would love Tyron [Woodley] to whoop him up,” Askren said about the former UFC champion who was in his corner on Saturday night. “Tyron wants to fight Oscar De La Hoya but I would love for Tyron to fight Jake Paul. I mean he’s a significantly better boxer than I am. That would be my guy.”