During the build-up of UFC 239 last July, Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal were essentially sworn enemies. But after Colby Covington lost to Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 in December, the two seemingly gained respect for each other.
So when asked whom he thinks the 2019 Fighter of the Year should be, “Funky” named his once big rival.
“I’d like to pick Israel Adesanya over him, but I think – I feel like that would be disingenuous,” Askren said on Monday’s episode of the Ariel Helwani MMA Show (transcript by MMA Junkie). “If I have to look at it from a non-biased perspective, it’s freakin’ Jorge, and if you said that was going to happen a year ago, everyone would have said ‘You’re on drugs,’ or have some type of issue. But unfortunately, I think he deserves it.
“It doesn’t hurt me. That’s what it is – that’s the truth,” he added. “That’s the reality of the situation: It doesn’t hurt at all. Now, does it feel good? No, it doesn’t feel good, either. But it’s not … that’s what happened.”
“Gamebred” did have a monumental 2019, kicking it off with a second-round KO win over Darren Till in England. After his five-second KO of Askren, he dealt Nate Diaz the second stoppage loss of his career.