For the second time in his career, Ben Askren is retiring from mixed martial arts competition. “Funky” made the announcement on Monday’s episode of the Ariel Helwani MMA Show, citing a hip injury as one of the primary reasons.
The injury was unbeknownst to most of the MMA community, until Askren revealed it on the show. And apparently, he intended for it to be that way and not make it seem like an excuse for his recent losses in the UFC.
“Obviously, I’ve known these hip issues for a while. I’ve never brought them up for a reason because I don’t want people to think that I’m using this as a reason why I lost,” Askren told Helwani.
“I lost because I wasn’t good enough. Plain and simple. My opponents beat me, they were better than me, and I want that to be just said out there. Obviously, these hip issues for me are totally separate. I lost because I wasn’t good enough.
“These obviously seem as though they’re excuses, but I don’t want them to be viewed in that light,” he added.
Askren held an 18-0 record before he made his UFC debut at UFC 235 in March against Robbie Lawler. After a controversial victory in that fight, he went on a two-fight skid, losing to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 in July, and to Demian Maia at UFC Singapore last month.
While they were greatly disappointing defeats, Askren isn’t letting them define his entire career.
“Just because I wasn’t good enough in 2019 doesn’t take away from my previous things that I’ve accomplished,” he said. “So obviously, I have those things to sit back and look on.
“Competition is you’re either good enough or you’re not, right? And that’s kind of one of the things I love so much about it is that there’s no grey area. You either win or you lose. And you have a definite answer.”
The 35-year-old Askren retired with a win-loss slate of 19-2 (with 1 NC and 12 wins by stoppage).