Talking to Ariel Helwani on Monday, UFC welterweight Ben Askren took his five second loss to Jorge Masvidal in stride.
“I got nothing to hide from,” Askren said of his first career loss. “Obviously, mistakes happen, losses happen. Saturday night was definitely not ideal for (me). I got nothing to complain about.”
“Saturday night was least traumatizing for me,” Askren said. “There’s a little part of my memory that’s blank there. I remember being in the cage with him. I don’t really remember the flying knee. Then, when I can recall, I remember everything. Like, ‘Oh (expletive), I lost to Jorge Masvidal. This freaking sucks.’ Everyone else is more worried about me than I’m worried about myself. I didn’t really have any pain of any sort. Not a headache. Nothing on my face hurts.
“So it was just like, ‘Oh, Jesus. I lost to Jorge Masvidal. How did I lose to him? How fast was it?’ I could tell it was pretty fast because I wasn’t sweaty or sore or anything. I knew it was fast. I didn’t know exactly how fast it was. Apparently, I set a record of some sort.”
Askren assumed Masvidal would try something similar to the running start he gave Darren Till earlier this year in London, but the wrestler turned MMA fighter decided to go for the early takedown and it cost him.
“It’s hard saying it was wrong,” Askren said. “It’d be total confirmation bias if I were to say that. And a lot of other people would. But the fact that I’ve been in the cage 19 times, and that kind of technique has worked 19 other times, and it’s never failed me, so now to the one time it fails me, to turn around and say it’s bad technique, I shouldn’t have done it, it was predictable – to say those things obviously would be correct, but it’s confirmation bias.”
“I feel like I probably deserve it,” Askren said of the social media trolling and backlash he received in defeat. “I’ve been antagonizing people for almost a decade now, and it never came up on the end of the stick. Now, I’m not reading everything they’re antagonizing me with. I’m just scrolling through it. I don’t want to dwell on that. But fair enough. I always figured that when this point happened, I’d get lit up. I’m not paying attention to it, but I’m sure I’m getting lit up.”
“One of the moronic things that Jorge is saying is that (I) deserved it because (I) was talking all that trash,” Askren said of Masvidal’s comments towards Askren after the fight. “If I didn’t say nothing – No. 1, I wouldn’t have gotten the fight. No. 2, not that many people would have been excited about it. No. 3, would you have really tried not to knock me out? Would you have tried to be nice to me and play patty cake with me or paper, scissor, rock or something? No. No matter what happened, you were going to try to knock me out, so why are you saying this narrative that you tried to knock me out because I was talking trash?
“… What we do is a cagefight. The whole point is to incapacitate the opponent into which they cannot compete any longer. So, the idea that he tried to make it worse because I was talking trash is insane. It’s totally ridiculous. It sounds good, and it sounds right. And it sounds like what most people would think, but that’s just not the case. If he is not trying hard against other people because they’re not talking trash, I would probably tell him he should rethink his strategy and try hard against everyone regardless of what they say to him.”