Ben Askren was an appropriately hyped undefeated champion of basically every promotion he’s fought in and a legendary college wrestler. With some of the best wrestling in all of MMA, Askren isn’t exactly winning fans over via flash. It’s his ability to build fights.
Witty, irritating prefight chatter is Askren’s weapon of choice. After peaking the fans’ interest by being the lovable antagonist, “Funky” fights his fight, wins and calls it a day. No hard feelings, on to the next.
That plan from beginning to end was a failure when he was slated to take on Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239.
Every small comment seemed to irritate Masvidal further and further. It was one of the only times anybody had engaged in verbal sparring with him and it wasn’t having the intended result. Most of Askren’s opponents become mentally overwhelmed and soon enough physically as well, Masvidal made a mortal out of the former Olympian.
At the faceoffs, Askren tried burrowing under the skin of “Gamebred” and something seemed off. Masvidal wasn’t dodging eye contact, wasn’t getting frustrated or appearing dominated. Fight night, he walked to the Octagon with a little more swagger than ever before. The grin just wouldn’t leave his face and we found out why.
When the fight had begun, Masvidal, hands behind his back took a second against the cage before running at an all out sprint and landing an earth shaking flying knee to a now completely stiff, Ben Askren. Giving himself enough time to land two “super necessary” punches to the unconscious head of Askren, Masvidal was the new record holder of the fastest knockout in UFC history at five seconds flat.
Record shattered, undefeated record shattered.
(Including the one second bounce off the cage and punches after the fact.)