Former Bellator and One Championship welterweight champion Ben Askren has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts competition.
“Funky” made the decision after finding out he requires hip replacement surgery following years of hip problems.
Askren broke the news on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday night.
“I’m retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts and frankly I’m retiring from everything,” Askren told ESPN’s Helwani. “I’ve been having hip problems and I finally had the discussion with my doctor and I actually got the MRI before my last fight and I need a hip replacement.
“That’s it for me. I’ve been thinking about this for a week and kind of what I was going to say. Really I’ve just been filled with gratitude for how great of a career I’ve been able to have, even though in the end it did not turn out to go my way.”
Outside of the cage, Askren was a decorated amateur wrestler, representing the United States at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He won gold for the USA in the Pan American Championships, while the NCAA Division I standout also won a national championship in 2008.
This is actually the second time Askren has retired from MMA. He first retired in 2017 after defending his One Championship title against Shinya Aoki, saying he was leaving the sport because he didn’t have the chance to compete against the world’s best due to his seemingly fraught relationship with UFC President Dana White hampering his chance to sign with the promotion.
However, in a first for the sport, the UFC and One Championship essentially traded fighters, with Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson going the other way. With that, Askren swiftly returned back to the fold.
Askren scored a submission win over Robbie Lawler with a bulldog choke on his UFC debut in somewhat controversial circumstances back in March. However, he then lost to Jorge Masvidal four months later, suffering a record-breaking knockout loss five seconds into the bout.
Funky returned to the Octagon in October to face Demian Maia in a dream grappling match-up, but succumbed to a rear-naked choke submission loss to the Brazilian in the third round.
Despite his persistent hip troubles, Askren told Helwani that his injuries weren’t to blame for those two losses.
Though he ended his UFC tenure with a 1-2 record, Askren is retiring from the sport with an impressive 19-2 (1 NC) record, having defeated talented champions such as Lawler, Aoki, Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov, and Lyman Good.
We at Fighters Only wish Askren all the best in his future adventures away from the competition side of the sport.