One of the best fighters currently operating outwith the UFC, current ONE FC welterweight champion Ben Askren is set to retire from the sport after one last title defense against Shinya Aoki on November 24th in Singapore.
Evolve MMA founder Chatri Sityodtong confirmed that this would be the 33-year-old Askren’s last fight in a Facebook post, indicating that the star will take on a new job as an executive at ONE FC alongside the likes of ex-UFC champion Rich Franklin.
If true then that means that Asken will go down along with Fedor Emelianenko as one of the biggest MMA stars never to have competed in the UFC’s Octagon.
In all fairness, Askren has never enjoyed the same level of fame as the Russian superstar, but based purely on his perfect 17-0 (+1nc) career record alone, there’s no doubt that Askren would have been an formidable addition to the UFC’s 170lb ranks.
A former Olympic wrestler, Askren made an immediate impact when he joined Bellator early in his MMA career back in 2010, winning their seson two welterweight tournament and then being crowned champion with a unanimous decision victory over Lyman Good.
In total Askren would go on to defend his title four times before opting to move on, at which stage it was hoped that he would sign for the UFC.
However, a clash of personalities with Dana White led to Askren being overlooked and he signed up for the up-and-coming ONE FC promotion, where he’s remained ever since, quickly winning their 170lb belt and then defending it three times to date.
Askren will now look to add one more victory to his record before hanging up his gloves against one of Japanese MMA’s biggest stars, submission specialist Shinya Aoki, who lost his ONE FC lightweight title in his last fight back in November of last year.