Ben Askren: 5 Things To Know About Retired MMA Fighter Facing Off Against Jake Paul

UFC's president said he'd bet $1 million that YouTube star Jake Paul will lose to Ben Askren. Learn more about the decorated MMA fighter and wrestler, ahead of the match that celebrities like Justin Bieber will be performing at.

Ben Askren
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Ben Askren is the latest person whom YouTube star Jake Paul will be jumping into the boxing ring with. Their eight-round match is set to go down inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on April 17 at 9 p.m. EDT. Jake and Ben won’t be the only recognizable names at the Triller Fight Club event; Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer and the new rap group Mt. Westmore (consisting of hip-hop legends Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40, and Too $hort) are all expected to perform during the event.

Even more celebrities are participating in Ben and Jake’s match as announcers: Snoop, Pete Davidson, Tayor Hill, TikTok stars Dixie and Charli D’Amelio, and Crimeface. So, who’s Jake’s opponent who has warranted such a star-studded performer and announcer lineup, and whom UFC president Dana White said he’d “bet a million dollars” will beat Jake while appearing on the Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson podcast? Read on to find out.

Ben Askren Was On The U.S. Olympic Freestyle Wrestling Team

Ben got his start as an accomplished wrestler. He won two state championships as a high school student at Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin and continued to compete in wrestling in college at the University of Missouri. During his time there, he won the  National Collegiate Athletic Association championship in 2006 and 2007. He’s now an inductee in the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.

After graduating from the University of Missouri in 2007, Ben went on to compete on the U.S. team for freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics. While he didn’t win medals there, Ben still competed in wrestling tournaments here and there; for example, in 2010, he flipped the table by defeating Ivan Fundora — who beat Ben at the Olympics — at the Cerro Pelado International in Cuba.

Ben Askren Then Became A Mixed Martial Artist

Ben Askren
Jake is not going up against an easy opponent. Since making his MMA debut in 2009, Ben has gone on to rack up a number of impressive accomplishments and is most well-known for being the Bellator welterweight champion and the ONE Welterweight Champion. He also never lost a fight during his contract with ONE Championship and left the organization with a headline-making 18-0-1 record when he signed on to fight with the UFC in Nov. 2018.

Ben Askren Retired From MMA In 2019 

“I’m retiring from the sport of MMA. Frankly, I’m retiring from everything,” Ben announced on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, per ESPN, in Nov. 2019. At the time, Ben had been dealing with hip issues.

“I’ve been having hip problems, and I finally had the discussion with my doctor…and I need a [left] hip replacement,” Ben revealed on the show. He added, “So, man, that’s it for me. I’ve been thinking about this for a week and what I was going to say, and I’m filled with gratitude for how great of a career I’ve been able to have, even though obviously in the end it did not turn out to go my way.”

After completing his hip surgery in 2020, Ben is now getting ready to “return to [his] roots” in freestyle wrestling by competing against the legendary Floyd Mayweather after his match with Jake, he announced in Feb. 2021.

Jake Paul Made The First Move & Challenged Ben Askren To Fight

Jake challenged Ben (along with other professional fighters like Conor McGregor) to fight in Nov. 2020. Ben took the callout seriously.

“I’m retired…coaching wrestling, doing some podcasts, buying some bitcoin, enjoying life. I don’t really want to fight anybody. So November, this jabroni Jake Paul calls me out [and] puts up a poster with my name, ha ha. It’s kinda funny, whatever, no big deal. Well then, a couple of weeks later, I get a couple of texts. Then a week after that, I get some calls. Then I get an offer. Ok, this guy really wants to fight,” Ben explained in the Twitter video below.

“Am I opposed to making some easy money beating up a YouTuber? Of course I’m not,” he continued. “So what do I do? Sure, Jacob, I’ll fight you. No problem. I accept publicly on Twitter, nonetheless. Since then, Jacob’s went silent. Jacob’s kind of a coward. Sorry guys, don’t think the fight’s happening.” Well, it’s certainly happening now!

Ben’s match against Jake will mark his professional boxing debut. The decorated MMA fighter and wrestler isn’t too nervous about switching it up, though. “Boxing, that seems kind of easy. Like, I’m sure I could do that. Like, there’s no shots, there’s no slams, there’s not leg locks. I dunno, that seems relatively safe to me,” Ben told Submission Radio, per Sporting News.

Jake Paul Is Making A Lot Of Money For This Fight

Jake is reportedly making an “official purse of $690,000” for his fight against Ben, per CBS Sports. Meanwhile, Ben’s “official purse is $500,000,” according to the outlet.

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