Ben Askren’s teammate at Roufusport, former UFC welterweight Mike Rhodes, thinks he knows why Askren gets so much hate at times.
Rhodes will be in Askren’s corner next Saturday night alongside Tyron Woodley when Askren makes his professional boxing debut against Jake Paul. Though Askren stands to make seven figures from this fight, and you can’t blame him for doing it, he has taken his fair share of criticism from fans and fellow athletes online ahead of it, as many people think he has no business stepping into the boxing ring. Speaking to James Lynch, Rhodes explained why he thinks Askren gets so much hate.
“First of all, the majority of the people, especially in the combat (sports) community, a lot them just don’t like Ben. A lot of them are haters. A lot of them are people who will never reach the level he reached in the sport so they hold some sort of grudge against him. Maybe they thought they should have had his shine or had his career highlights, but the fact of the matter is, the guy’s been better than the majority of the guys in the sport that they’re in,” Rhodes said of Ben Askren.
“So for them to speak negatively about him, I just think it reflects more about them than it does about Ben. The fact of the matter is, Ben’s a competitor. You can do fighting, you can do whatever you want to, Ben is always going to compete. He’s been able to do it at the highest levels. I mean the highest of the highest levels, like making the Olympic team and stuff like that. If Ben has a singular focus, Ben can get really good at stuff. He picks up on stuff very fast. People don’t realize that he went from wrestling to MMA in a short amount of time, that he wasn’t some super-young guy at the time.”
Less than two years after announcing his retirement from the UFC and MMA in general, Askren steps into the ring next Saturday at Triller boxing when he fights Paul in a highly-anticipated pro boxing match, and Rhodes will be in his corner when he does so.
Do you agree with Mike Rhodes about why Ben Askren is so hated amongst a certain segment of the combat sports community?