Ben Askren’s UFC career to date certainly hasn’t gone according to plan, with the former Olympian, undefeated Bellator and ONE FC champion having been knocked out by Jorge Masvidal in a new UFC record-quick 5 seconds, followed by a submission loss to Demian Maia this past weekend.
It’s obviously been a shock to the system for the 35-year-old, who burst into the UFC with a confident swagger and plenty of trash-talk, but is now having to reevaluate his fighting career and has admitted that retirement is now an option he’s seriously considering.
“If I beat Demian Maia I’m probably one more good win away from a title shot,” Askren said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “Now I look at my path, and I’m like ‘Oh (expletive).’ I’m kind of far away. Fortunes can change fast, but it’s probably minimum, minimum three fights. It could be upwards of four or five. Who knows? I don’t need to prove I’m a good fighter. I don’t need more money. I don’t need to be more famous. I don’t really want any of those things that badly. What I wanted to do was prove I’m the best in the world, and now I’m looking at how far away that is and how long it’s going to take me to get there and trying to weigh all that out.”
“Retirement is definitely something I am considering. I would be lying to you if I said I was not. It’s just a time-cost analysis. I have a lot of things to do in my life. I’m a really busy guy. I have a lot of things I’m passionate about, and I love. Not training specifically, but to and from setting stuff up, I’m probably spending about 30 hours a week on MMA related stuff. ‘Can I place my time better somewhere else’ is definitely a thought process that’s crossed my mind.
“That being said, two more things: All I ever wanted was an opportunity. That’s all I ever wanted…Then the other thought process is part of me wants to fight more. I thought I was doing really well in the Demian Maia fight.”
In the interview Askren also talked about how he doesn’t really love fighting and is much more passionate about wrestling, so it does sound like he is leaning towards hanging up his gloves, and if the only reason to stay is to continue to chase a title shot then it does seem like that is the way to go, as it’s hard to imagine him being able to get past many of the highly competitive division’s top contenders at this stage.