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Daniel Cormier: Ben Askren almost became champ ‘and he doesn’t even know how to fight’

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The former double-champ may be a friend of Askren’s, but he’s certainly not pulling any punches.

UFC 230: Cormier v Lewis Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Let it never be said that Daniel Cormier is not a brutally honest man.

The former double-champ was recently interviewed by Ariel Helwani, and when the topic of accomplished wrestler-turned-fighter Ben Askrean came up he couldn’t keep a straight face. It all starts with Cormier pantomiming punches with Helwani, and a question that derails the whole thing. (Video courtesy of Jed Goodman on Twitter)

“In striking?” Cormier responds when asked if Helwani could beat Ben Askren. “You could outstrike Ben Askren?”

“Hey listen, I love Ben,” Cormier continued. “I love Ben, he’s my boy, but I mean—boy, I don’t know. Hey, there was a point – I’m starting to sweat again – there was a point that I was scared. I was like ‘Ben’s about to be a world champion.’ Because he was undefeated, he beat Robbie Lawler. And I was like ‘this dude’s about to be a world champion and he doesn’t even know how to fight.’

“He was out there with Demian Maia—like, I’ve seen Demian Maia fight for like 15 years, and I’ve never seen him out-strike somebody like that. Dude’s just out-striking Ben Askren, man.”

When asked if he could potentially help Ben pick up any aspects of boxing to round out his game, Cormier was quick to shoot the idea down.

“Naw, man. Yo, listen, Ben don’t listen to nobody, man. Ben knows every—he’s one of those guys. Ben knows everything. Ben knows everything.”

Eventually, though, Cormier had to give Askren props for making it “far” in MMA, even without much in the way of a standup arsenal.

Askren’s MMA career saw him reach the pinnacle at Bellator before making the most of free agency to earn six figures per fight under ONE’s banner. From there, ‘Funky’ Ben decided to retire from competition altogether. However, an unexpected opportunity presented itself in the form of a “trade“ for Demetrious Johnson. A move that allowed for Askren to come into the UFC undefeated at 18-0.

After a very controversial debut against Robbie Lawler, he got posterized in his follow-up effort against Jorge Masvidal, and slept by ace grappler Demian Maia. Soon after those defeats, and with ongoing hip problems hampering him, he once again decided to retire. This time, seemingly for good.