Ben Askren fell to Jake Paul in the first round last night in the spectacle that is Triller Fight Club. The loss paves the way for Paul and Triller to rinse and repeat and for Askren to shuffle back to his post-MMA retirement life.
In his post-fight scrum Askren, a former Bellator and ONE champion, said he deserved all the ridicule he might get from being knocked out by a YouTuber with a now 3-0 boxing record.
“[The ridicule is] probably deserved,” said Askren. When asked why he felt that way, ‘Funky’ exclaimed. “I got knocked out by Jake Paul! It’s fucking embarrassing.”
Later Askren was asked if his loss to Paul let the MMA community down.
“I didn’t let the MMA community down,” he said. “I let the world down, people fucking hate Jake Paul and they wanted to see me make him miserable and I didn’t do that so I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down.”
Despite the chance of ridicule being well known leading up to this contest, Askren said he didn’t feel any nerves or anxiety when he made his walk to the ring last night.
“I wasn’t nervous at all because, at the end of the day, my life doesn’t change one way or the other. In MMA I was always pursuing, or defending, a world title, really. And today I was doing a fun boxing match and if it turned out great, then great, and if it turned out shit, then my life is the same. So there were really no nerves whatsoever.”
“It is unfortunate, I really thought I could be better,” added Askren. “Yeah that was not fun.”
When asked what he felt went wrong Askren said that he overreacted to Paul’s feints. “That was probably the beginning of the end.” Askren added that he wished he could have clinched up with Paul longer. “Maybe that would have helped me a little bit, but hey no excuses, right? I got in a fucking boxing match and it didn’t go so well.”
Askren was then asked if he felt his lack of nerves was a sign that he wasn’t taking the fight as seriously as he could. Askren was adamant that he didn’t take this bout lightly.
“No, I fought as hard as I could. I mean, I trained as hard as I could, given the fact that I was sitting on the couch for 18 months since my last fight. I said OK, I started training right away, given the amount of time, I got into as good a shape as possible and I took it seriously. I was very disciplined in my training so I feel like I have no excuses, right? I was very comfortable going in there. I don’t know. I just got hit with a hard punch, I guess.”
Despite the fact that the hard punch belonged to Paul, Askren laughed at the idea that the fight has resulted in him finding some respect for his opponent.
“No! I don’t. I don’t,” he said when asked if he respects Paul. “I want to see him get in a fight and I’m sorry I let you down, I didn’t get to get in a fight with him. He hit me early. You know, as I said, that’s when you respect someone is when you see what their made of and I was hoping that you guys would see that tonight and I let a lot of people down and you didn’t get to see that.”
Askren was then asked who he wanted to ‘nominate’ to take on Paul next. Askren had an answer ready to go and he quickly named his long time training partner Tyron Woodley.
“I would love Tyron to whoop him up. Tyron wants to fight Oscar De La Hoya, but I would love for Tyron to fight Jake Paul. I mean, he’s a significantly better boxer than I am. So that would be my guy.”
As for what’s next for Askren, he seems to have a good plan in place. “I’m going to take about a million dollars home and then coach some wrestling.”