Multiple organizations world champion, Ben Askren is not where he wanted to be while making his debut in UFC. After conquering two different worlds, and becoming champion in two different fight promotions, Ben Askren took retirement from mixed martial arts.
Although his record of 18-0 made a strong argument for him being one of the greatest welterweights of all time, fans felt ambivalent about that. Askren fought his entire life outside UFC before the Lawler fight and it’s safe to assume that the competition at other fight promotions is nowhere near to that in UFC.
However, Ben Askren came out of retirement and made his much-awaited debut in UFC against the former champion, Robbie Lawler, arguably the toughest challenge Askren has faced in his career to date. That fight did destroy the aura of invincibility surrounding the Funky One. Lawler put Askren through a storm in the starting minutes of the fights, but Ben Askren weathered the storm and won the fight with a controversial submission ending. At that point, fans did not agree to the fullest that Ben Askren is for real, but they did not have a strong argument against that either since Askren won a tough fight on his debut.
However, his next fight against Masvidal changed the entire course for Ben Askren in UFC. Askren was one or maybe two wins away from a title shot. However, the loss to Masvidal put Ben Askren far down the ladder to the point that he is at the point of Do or Die situation at the moment.
Demian Maia and Ben Askren can be said to be in a similar position at the moment. Askren lost his last fight to Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia has lost several fights including a title fight. So this might be the last run for the title for both Askren and Maia.
If Askren manages to get a win against Demian Maia, he may fight Leon Edwards who is a strong contender for the title with a 7 fight win streak in the division and that’s a good matchup for Askren too. Leon Edwards is not known for his grappling abilities and he might find himself in trouble with Askren on the ground. Or Ben Askren can call out the loser of Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal. The rematch between Masvidal and Askren makes sense if Jorge Masvidal loses to Diaz and Askren wins against Maia.
However, a loss against Demian Maia might just kill all the hype Askren had coming into UFC. “But man, if I don’t win this fight, I’m knocked way, way, way down the rung. So I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I’m gonna go in there and mix it up, and then after that, we’ll have to see where it goes,” said Ben Askren when asked about his path if he loses to Maia.
It’s safe to say that Ben Askren needs to make a statement in his next fight against Demian Maia. While a win over Maia will allow him to campaign for a title shot or a rematch against Masvidal to right the only loss he has on his record, a loss against Maia might just take the credibility of the 18 wins he had outside UFC.