After a brief UFC run that saw him winning just one of his three fights for the promotion, Ben Askren announced on Monday that he is retiring once again from mixed martial arts, two years after he originally hung up his gloves with an undefeated record.
As reported by CBS Sports, Askren made the announcement Monday on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, where the 35-year-old welterweight told the podcast’s eponymous host that he has been dealing with hip problems and decided to retire after consulting with his doctor. He also explained that he got an MRI prior to his recent loss to Demian Maia, hence the need for hip replacement surgery.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a week and what I was going to say. Really, I’m just filled with gratitude for how great of a career I’ve been able to have, even though, obviously in the end, it did not go my way.”
Talking about the extent of his hip issues, Askren told Helwani that he had been dealing with these problems for about three to five years, with things getting “really bad” when he resumed training in December after coming back from a one-year retirement. The former U.S. Olympian added that after his hip started bothering him again in August, his doctor advised him to get an MRI, allowing him to proceed with his fight against Maia but warning him that he might need a hip replacement following the bout.
“Sure enough, after my fight I talked to him and he said, ‘Hey, you need a hip replacement.’ I’ve talked to three or four doctors and all of them said, yeah, once you do that, you’re pretty well done.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 18, 2019
At the time of his first retirement in 2017, Askren had a perfect 18-0 record in mixed martial arts, having won titles in Bellator and ONE Championship but never having competed in UFC. He would, however, resume his fight career after he was traded from ONE Championship in an “unprecedented” deal that sent former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson to the former promotion.
Following a strong start at UFC 235 in March, which saw him defeat former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler via first-round submission, Askren lost his next two fights, starting with a five-second knockout at the hands of Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 in July. His third — and final — fight for the promotion came last month at UFC Fight Night 162, where he was submitted by Maia in the third round.
Despite his losing record in UFC, Askren admitted to Helwani that he feels thankful for having gotten a chance to compete for the world’s most prominent MMA promotion before hanging it up for good.
“I’m grateful I got the opportunity to see if I could do,” he concluded. “If I never go that opportunity I think it would have eaten at me as I got older.”