When Joe Rogan Wanted Ben Askren to Fight Khabib Nurmagomedov

Published 04/18/2021, 11:29 AM EDT
OBERHAUSEN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 12: UFC commentator Joe Rogan answers questions from the fans before the UFC 122 weigh-in at the Koenig Pilsener Arena on November 12, 2010 in Oberhausen, Germany. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Ben Askren lost to YouTuber Jake Paul via first-round T/KO in the main event of Triller fight club. This was not the highest moment of Askren’s combat career. ‘Funky’ has now lost his last 3 fights across boxing and MMA. However, it was not so long ago that a then-undefeated Askren was touted to be a potential challenge and super-fight for recently retired Khabib Nurmagomedov.

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Askren arrived in the UFC in 2019 with an undefeated record of 18-0. He was supposed to fight Robbie Lawler in his promotional debut at UFC 235. In the pre-fight press conference of UFC 235, Askren suggested a fight between him and ‘The Eagle’ would be exciting, as someone has to lose their unscathed record.

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America vs Russia always is a good storyline. It always is. From like since the cold war. America and Russia, think about that. Think about how it sells. By that time we’re gonna have 20-0 Ben Askren versus 27-0 Khabib. Someone’s 0 is gotta go. America vs Russia. I’ll get on his back and I’ll chant USA,” said Askren.

Joe Rogan wanted to see Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Ben Askren

UFC color commentator Joe Rogan has always fantasized about a potential fight between Khabib and Askren. He previously said on his podcast, “I think he’s something special. I think his grappling is very unusual, very difficult to prepare for and if you’re going to deal with Khabib against a guy who can neutralize his stuff and then we see like what- what if we see Khabib on his back?

“Ben Askren fu*kin with a knee across the belly punching Khabib in the face.”

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But we never got to see the fight between two of the finest grapplers MMA has ever seen. But considering Askren’s run in the UFC, maybe it was a good thing that he didn’t have to fight a beast like Nurmagomedov in his prime.

Funky‘ had a stellar run during his time outside the UFC. However, fans didn’t get to see the best of him in the world’s premier MMA organization. He was on the wrong end of 30 with a bad hip. And considering what ‘The Eagle‘ had done in the meantime, it probably wouldn’t have turned out the way Askren hoped it to be.

Ben Askren celebrates after beating Robbie Lawler in a welterweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 235, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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Apratim Banerjee

1016 articles

Apratim Banerjee is an MMA author for EssentiallySports and has been writing professionally for almost a year. Before his current gig, Apratim worked as a UFC writer for Sportskeeda. A long-time MMA fan, Apratim has developed a critical eye for the sport that has helped him transfer his vast knowledge to his copies and give hardcore and casual readers a detailed insight into the fights and fighters.

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