When Jake Paul challenged Ben (along with other professional wrestlers such as Conor McGregor) to fight in November 2020. Ben Askren took the call seriously. This move would change his life forever! This fight put him on the map and Ben Askren was able to experience a resurgence like never before. That being said, his past caught up with him, and we were able to dig up these cool things about his career and personal life.
Ben Askren: 10 Lesser-Known Things (Plus 1 Bonus Controversy Fact)
1. Ben Askren has a dog called Ragnar:
Ben Askren lives with his wife Amy, two daughters, Alex and Andy, and a son called Ozzi. The dog whose name is inspired by the Marvel universe belongs to the breed of Cane Corso.
2. Ben Askren’s wife is a real estate agent:
You may have seen his long-term partner and wife Amy ringside cheering him on, and many assume that she isn’t working. But in reality, Amy who has 27.4k followers on Instagram is a licensed estate agent. Amy has shared her fruitful career at Firefly Real Estate near Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her followers.
3. He was severely shaken up by Jorge Masvidal’s knee:
The fight between Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren at UFC 239 was historic: the fastest KO in the history of the company and the first defeat of the American in MMA, who left the Octagon shaken by the Cuban’s flying knee.
When The American spoke about the withering KO he suffered at UFC 239, he said: “WHAT HAPPENED TO JORGE WAS NOT LUCK. KNEEING LIKE THAT TAKES A LOT OF SKILL. I COULDN’T DO IT”.
Once Funky recovered from the hard blow to the head, Askren shared his impressions of what happened in an interview with ESPN, which we mentioned above.
4. Ben Askren was on the US Olympic wrestling team:
Ben started out as an accomplished fighter. He won two state championships as a high school student at Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin and went on to compete in college wrestling at the University of Missouri. On a collegiate level, the future 2008 Olympic athlete won the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship in 2006 and 2007. He is now a member of the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.
After graduating from the University of Missouri in 2007, Ben went on to compete on the US wrestling team at the 2008 Summer Olympics. While he didn’t win any medals there, Ben still competed in wrestling tournaments here and there; for example, in 2010, he turned the tables by defeating Iván Fundora – who beat Ben in the Olympics – at the Cerro Pelado International in Cuba.
5. Ben Askren later became a mixed martial artist:
Jake Paul did not face an easy opponent. Since he made his MMA debut in 2009, Ben has racked up a number of impressive accomplishments and is best known for being the Bellator Welterweight Champion and the ONE Welterweight Champion. He also did not lose a fight during his contract with ONE Championship and left the organization with an 18-0-1 record making headlines when he signed to fight with the UFC in November 2018.
6. Ben Askren retired from MMA in 2019:
Almost as quickly as Ben got into MMA, he left.
“I am retiring from the sport of MMA. Frankly, I’m retiring from everything,”
Following his hip issue announcement, Ben stated on ESPN’s Ariel Helwani MMA Show in November 2019 that: “I’ve had hip problems and I finally had the conversation with my doctor…and I need a [left] hip replacement,”
Ben also added: “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 full of gratitude for what a great race I’ve been able to have, even though it obviously didn’t work out in the end. to go my way.”
After completing his hip surgery in 2020, Ben is now preparing to “return to [his] roots” in wrestling by competing against the legendary Floyd Mayweather after his match with Jake, he announced in February 2021.
7. Jake Paul made the first move and challenged Ben Askren to a fight:
The eight-round cruiserweight bout arose after the two exchanged aggressive messages on social media just as Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson in November. Askren, who was not well known in mixed martial arts for being a knockout, has returned to action since retiring from the UFC in 2019. The boxing competition between the two would not be remembered for generations, but showed how to generate good numbers on Pay Per View and the promotion called Triller paved a way for “future social media stars vs real fighter:” type contests.
But it all began thanks to Jake Paul’s interest despite Ben’s reservations.
“I am retired… training, wrestling, doing some podcasts, buying bitcoins, enjoying life. I really don’t want to fight anyone. So in November, this jabroni Jake Paul calls me [and] puts up a sign with my name on it haha . It’s kind of funny, whatever, it’s not a big deal. Well, a couple of weeks later, I got a couple of text messages. Then a week after that I get some calls. So I got an offer. Ok this guy really wants to fight,” Ben explained.
“Am I opposed to making easy money beating up a YouTuber? Of course I’m not,” he continued. “Then what do I do? Sure, Jacob, I’ll fight you. No problem. However, I accept it publicly on Twitter. Since then, Jake Paul has been silent, he is a coward. Sorry guys, don’t think the fight is happening.”
Thankfully the fight got finalized and it marked Ben’s professional boxing debut. However, the decorated MMA fighter and fighter wasn’t nervous about entering the ring for the first time as he said: “Boxing, that seems a little easy. I’m sure you could do that. Like, no shots, no punches, no leg locks. I don’t know, that seems relatively safe to me”.
8. Many are still shocked by his loss from Jake Paul:
The UFC president Dana White said he would bet $1 million on YouTube star Jake Paul losing to Ben Askren. But the decorated MMA fighter and fighter lost. Because on paper Ben Askren should have been the last person YouTube star Jake Paul should jump into the boxing ring with. As we all know, the youtuber sent the former UFC to sleep with a bestial right hand in less than two minutes of fighting.
Askren said goodbye to the UFC with more pain than glory in 2019 with a record of 19-2 after accumulating two losses in a row, one in record time against Jorge Masvidal (five seconds). Askren’s strongest discipline is wrestling as he was a two-time NCAA champion in that discipline with the University of Missouri. Though boxing wasn’t his forte, it was the first time Paul went head to head against a literal former combat athlete.
Paul is a “YouTube celebrity”, an actor, and a rap singer. But Paul has more experience than his opponent Ben Askren which may allude to why he won. Jake first beat a YouTuber named Deji by a fifth-round knockout. He subsequently knocked out another YouTuber, AnEsonGib, in one round in January 2020, and then on the Mike Tyson undercard against Roy Jones Jr. he dispatched former NBA player Nate Robinson in the second round.
Suffering such a tough loss can fill many fighters with doubts and insecurities. But this is not the case for Askren, a multiple champion in different promotions and possessor of an Olympic-caliber wrestling style.
9. Jake Paul made a lot of money from fighting Ben Askren:
Jake Paul, a YouTube star and boxing enthusiast, saw action this Saturday, April 17, when he faced former mixed martial arts welterweight champion Ben Askren in Atlanta in a boxing circus rather than a match. It was an event of nighttime entertainment, an evening of rare, high-level boxing at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, featuring musical performances by Justin Beiber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer, and the new rap group Mount Westmore (made up of hip-hop legends Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40, and Too $hort).
According to our online sources, Jake reportedly earned an “official purse of $690,000” for his fight against Ben. According to CBS Sports, Ben’s “official wallet grew by $500,000,” according to the outlet.
10. Ben Askren has a degree in Geography:
The future Olympian studied and earned a geographer’s degree at the University of Missouri, and although he generally had good grades, he was really there to develop his fighting career. His record was 153–8, and during his last two years he went undefeated in 87 games. He was selected as an All-American (the best in the USA) four times. He was also a two-time NCAA Division 1 champion, which is the elite of wrestlers in the country.
During his university life he already shared with one of his best friends, the UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, only that Woodley competed at 165 pounds and Askren at 174.
11. Controversies of Ben Askren:
His KO from Jake Paul shows another angle:
The truth is that Ben had his roots in wrestling and could naturally transition to boxing (as he did to McGregor). But the fact that he arrived at the weigh-in showing a very deteriorated physique, was going to cost him.
So it is a surprise that despite Askren surprising Paul from the start after returning an overhand right hand, the youtuber quickly recovered and settled the fight. With just one power hand, Jake Paul’s right hand gave Ben Askren no chance.
He has always been a big trash talker:
Askren says he is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, though he has apparently never studied martial arts and challenges anyone with that rank to beat him in a match. He has openly criticized one of the best grapplers in the world, Brazilian Demian Maia, as “very basic”.
Since his days of insulting and trying to intimidate just about every ranked welterweight fighter in the UFC, Askren has calmed down a bit.
Followers before Jake Paul were very low:
As we know, the UFC is a company and its goal is to make money. That’s why Dana White’s favorite fighter is McGregor, no matter what he does. The more popular a fighter is, the more people are willing to pay to watch it. The formula is very simple.
In terms of popularity, Askren didn’t have many credentials until Jake Paul came along. He was widely known in the field of collegiate and professional wrestling in the US, but not as an athlete and public figure worldwide. Initially back in 2019, his 135K followers on Instagram (doubled since his signing with the UFC). Still, this was a far cry from GSP’s 2 million back in 2019, and Khabib’s 13 million, and light years ahead of McGregor’s nearly 30 million in the same year.
Askren likes to trash talk and trade insults with other fighters, so Jake Paul came to him at the right time.
The alleged truth behind him leaving UFC:
In 2010, Ben participated in the Bellator welterweight tournament, winning it after 3 wins. That led to a title fight, which he captured by defeating the then champion Lyman Good by decision.
After 4 successful defenses as champion in Bellator, in 2014 he moved to ONE Championship, where he also won and defended the title 4 times. ONE is a major MMA promotion from Asia, with the majority of its competitors being from that continent (Philippines, Malaysia, India, Myanmar, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Cambodia) although there are also several Brazilians and Americans. With the recent additions of former Bellator and UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, considered by many to be one of the greatest fighters in history, ONE’s popularity is expected to begin to expand outside of Asia.
Askren retired in November 2017, being the undefeated champion of One, but always with the door open to return through the big door. Already in 2013, when he retired from Bellator, also as an undefeated champion, Askren was in talks with the UFC, but alleged differences between him and Dana White prevented him from being hired. Dana White said, “I thought Tito (Ortiz) was the dumbest human being I’ve ever met, but this guy (Askren) is an absolute jerk.” Apparently, they didn’t get along very well which could explain why Ben joined the UFC and left it as quickly as possible as well.