Ben Askren may never be anything close to the media sensation that Ronda Rousey was in her brief, but highly publicized 5-year MMA career. However, as hitherto unbeaten, highly-skilled grapplers who found themselves on the wrong end of crushing KO losses in their first ever defeats, a certain amount of comparison is, perhaps, inevitable.
But, it’s also a comparison that Askren is eager to avoid. And the best way he can see to do that? Don’t hide from your losses.
“I think that’s the worst thing you can do,” Askren told MMAFighting. “I mean obviously if you want to point to who did it the worst was Ronda [Rousey].
“I always feel like I want to tell my story the way I want to tell it, and if you hide in the corner, everyone else is going to talk about what you’re going to do. Listen, it happens. It’s part of the sport or even life for that matter. Losses happen. I think the best thing you can do is say, ‘That happened. What am I going to do now?’”
That appears to be the UFC’s stance on things as well, as the world’s largest MMA organization was quick to call Askren up for a chance to rebound. And while getting a bout offer just one week after being on the wrong end of a massive highlight knockout may not seem like the best idea, Askren was quick to assure fans that he’s been 100% medically cleared to fight.
“I feel like he hit me in the neck because I never had any head pain, no headaches, no nothing ever,” he explained. “They gave me the 45-day no-contact suspension, so I abided by that. But really the UFC hit me up a week later and said, ‘Do you want to main event in Singapore?’ Prior to that, I figured I’ll sit out for 45 days, take the time off and maybe take December. The Las Vegas card looked like a big one. Then they offered me the fight.
“I talked to a few of my buddies who are doctors about head trauma issues, and they’re like ‘It’s OK. Let’s do this.’”
It doesn’t hurt that Askren’s opponent for this bout is anything but known for his knockout power. BJJ legend Demian Maia has one TKO due to strikes on his record, in his debut, all the way back in 2001. Hopefully for fans, Maia’s bout against ‘Funky’ Ben ends up on the mat where both men do their best work. And not as the latest in a long history of grappler vs grappler MMA kickboxing matches.