After experiencing a tough time in the UFC, Ben Askren has announced his decision to retire from the sport.
The 35-year-old explained that an ongoing hip issue that now requires major surgery was partly the reason for him hanging up his gloves.
“I’m retiring from the sport of MMA,” Askren told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. “Frankly, I’m retiring from everything.”
“I’ve been having hip problems, and I finally had the discussion with my doctor … and I need a [left] hip replacement,” Askren said. “So, man, that’s it for me. I’ve been thinking about this for a week and what I was going to say, and I’m filled with gratitude for how great of a career I’ve been able to have, even though obviously in the end it did not turn out to go my way.”
However, Askren was also keen to stress that he wasn’t using his hip problems as an excuse for his losses inside the Octagon.
“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.
“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.”
Despite his disappointing run in the UFC, which included a new promotional record 5 second flying knee knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal and a submission defeat against Demian Maia, the former long-time Bellator and ONE FC champion is still holding his head high about his past accomplishments, bowing out with an overall 19-2 (+1nc) career record.
“Just because I wasn’t good enough in 2019 doesn’t take away from my previous things that I’ve accomplished. 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.”