FAMILY man Ben 'Funky' Askren is supposed to be in retirement.
But on Saturday he will put all the trash talk to one side to step into the ring with YouTuber Jake Paul in an exhibition fight.
The 36-year-old was an accomplished wrestler, and once part of the US Olympic team.
Askren also became a Bellator champion in 2010, as his MMA career began to take off.
In 2018, after recording a parody video of Adele's ballad 'Hello' to get noticed by Dana White, he was finally accepted into the UFC.
However, his name went down in history for the wrong reasons… at UFC 239, his opponent Jorge Masvidal defeated him in just five seconds in the quickest knockout ever.
GRAPPLE WITH THIS
Before MMA, UFC and Jake Paul, Askren was a brilliant wrestler.
At college in his junior season he went one season winning every one of his 45 contests.
He won consecutive NCAA Championships and Big 12 Championships in 2006 and 2007 with the University of Missouri.
That earned him a place at the US Olympic trials, where he faced off against national runner-up Tyrone Lewis.
He beat Lewis twice to earn a spot on the US team for the 2008 Olympics.
Although he arrived in Beijing with high hopes, the 2008 Olympics were humbling for Askren.
He won his first match by pin against Hungarian István Veréb, but disappointment was to come.
In a round of eight match he lost to Cuba's more experienced freestyle wrestler Ivan Fundora.
And when Russia's Buvaisar Saitiev beat the Cuban in the quarterfinal round, Askren's chances of a medal were ended.
Askren became disillusioned with wrestling, even though he remained a success domestically.
In 2010, he joined the Bellator Fighting Championship and competed in the Welterweight Tournament.
In his first fight he choked out Ryan Thomas, although the fight was controversial because Thomas protested the stoppage as soon Askren released the hold.
The pair had a rematch at Bellator 19, in which Askren again was victorious – winning by unanimous decision after dominating the three rounds.
At Bellator 22, Dan Hornbuckle was the next to fall Askren's superior wrestling skills, with the Iowa native crowned the Bellator Season Two Welterweight Champion.
In 2013, after negotiations broke down, Askren was released by Bellator and became a free agent.
THIS IS THE ONE
That same year, Askren signed a six-year contract with The One Championship.
After disposing of Bakhtiyar Abbasov, who was on a nine-fight winning streak, he faced One champion Nobutatsu Suzuki at Reign of Champions in 2014.
In a thrilling battle, he won the fight via TKO by delivering a flurry of punches Suzuki couldn't handle.
Within two fights, astonishingly Askren had become One Champion.
He would successfully defend his belt five more times until announcing his retirement in 2017.
Desperate to get the attention of UFC president Dana White, Askren even recorded his own rendition of a famous Adele hit.
Crooning along to ballad Hello, he changed some of the lyrics mentioning White's name and doing anything to be considered for a shot in the UFC.
Askren sings; “Hello, Dana [White] hear me I’m in Singapore and dreaming about who I can go and beat, Jonny Hendricks and Robbie [Lawler] … Hello from the Askren side I must have called a thousand times to tell you I’m sorry for always calling you dumb.”
At first, White was reluctant to consider him as a potential competitor – and posted this incredible tweet.
"WhenAmbienn can’t sleep it takes Ben Askren. The most boring fighter in MMA history. I would rather watch flys f***".
But, Askren was to get his wish.
It was short, but sweet.
Askren appeared just three times in the UFC – all in 2019.
After a bulldog choking Robbie Lawler out on his debut, he faced off against Jorge Masvidal.
The Miami-native showed Askren no mercy – defeating him in just five seconds with a flying knee. It was and still is the quickest loss in UFC history.
After his Masvidal humbling, Demian Maia was Askren's next challenge. But psychologically, it appeared he had already checked out.
In round three he lost the fight by submission, and a month later he announced his retirement from MMA.
SWIM IN THE RICHES
Despite fighting just three times in the UFC, Askren is said to have made around £600,000 from the organisation in 2019.
In total, it's been reported that's he's worth around £7million. But, as he admits, he doesn't live the fancy live.
"I don't care about having a fancy car," he once said.
"I don't have a lot of the wants and needs that a lot of people have where I would need to make a $1 million a fight."
He was gifted a £165,000 Lamborghini after winning a fight in The One Championship.
And he has been seen with a top-of-the-range Rolls-Royce worth £280,000.
Today, Askren is very much the family man.
He has been married to beautiful wife Amy since 2010, when he was at the peak of his powers.
They have three children together, and Askren has been happy at home performing renditions of 'Baby Shark' to his children than fighting in recent years.
And Jake Paul is well aware of this. He's taken the bad blood between the pair to a new level, warning Ben's parents not to watch their fight.
"I promise April 17 will be the worst day of your f****** life," he said on elder sibling Logan Paul's podcast.
"Just as I asked Nate Robinson’s kids not to watch the fight, I will ask your kids to do the same.
"So, Ben Askren’s kids, wife, please don’t watch this because your dad will be bloodied, unconscious on the f****** canvas (on) April 17."
Source: Read Full Article