After a somewhat disappointing experience while with the UFC, today Ben Askren (19-2-1) retires from competitive mixed martial arts.
“I’m retiring from the sport of MMA,” Askren said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN. “Frankly, I’m retiring from everything.”
Askren had a rocky start in his first outing with the promotion, getting manhandled by former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. Askren would survive the onslaught, only to apply a choke that would ultimately end the fight in what was considered a controversial stoppage by referee Herb Dean.
The near loss immediately brought questions as to whether the former Bellator MMA and ONE Championship champion was ready for the UFC. Askren came to the promotion after a brief retirement from MMA and what would be labeled as the largest official trade in the sport’s history. The UFC promotion had sent former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in exchange for Askren, a lopsided exchange in the eyes of many.
Askren would go on to suffer his first professional defeat, which also will go down as the fastest knockout in UFC history, when he was put to sleep by a flying knee from Jorge Masvidal in July.
Hoping to shake the cobwebs and secure a big win with the UFC, Askren then headlined against Demian Maia in Singapore. A third-round rear-naked choke would hand Askren in first professional loss by submission, and his second loss with the company.
Today, Askren told Helwani that hip problems are the cause for his departure from the sport.
“I’ve been having hip problems, and I finally had the discussion with my doctor … and I need a [left] hip replacement,” Askren said. “So, man, that’s it for me. I’ve been thinking about this for a week and what I was going to say, and I’m filled with gratitude for how great of a career I’ve been able to have, even though obviously in the end it did not turn out to go my way.”
Askren held Bellator’s welterweight title from 2010 to 2013 and went on to become ONE welterweight champion from 2014 to 2017.
“I don’t want people to think I’m using [my hip injury] as a reason why I lost,” Askren said. “I lost because I wasn’t good enough, plain and simple, my opponents beat me, they were better than me. And I want that to be said out there.”