Ben Askren suffered one of the worst knockout defeats in MMA history at UFC 239, crumpling to the canvas just five seconds into his highly anticipated welterweight bout with Jorge Masvidal after being blasted with a flying knee.
The former ONE FC and Bellator welterweight champion has a long road back to title contention but, speaking to ESPN at yesterday’s ESPY award show, teammate Tyron Woodley, who trains with Askren at Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin believes the loss will make ‘Funky’ a ‘better man’ and a ‘better fighter’.
“I talked to him a little bit,” Woodley said, per MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew. “He’s a competitor. I just checked on him to make sure his health is good and give him his space. We’ve all got to deal with lessons our own way. If you don’t learn anything from it, it becomes a loss, so I can’t help him learn the lesson that he needs to learn from that. I think it’s gonna take him having to feel a little bit bad, a little bit looking at the mirror like, ‘Damn, that sh*t is reality.’ Whatever lesson he gets from it, I think it will make him a better man, a better fighter.”
It’s expected that Masvidal, who set the record for the fastest KO in UFC history this past Saturday at UFC 239, will go on to challenge Kamaru Usman for the official welterweight title but former champ ‘T-Wood’, who lost his welterweight title to Usman earlier this year, believes he is deserving of an immediate rematch with ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’.
“I think it’s so weird right now. Colby fighting Robbie is weird - even me fighting Robbie again was kind of weird,” Woodley said. “I think me and Usman should run it back. . .
“Health is doing well, hand is doing well, healing it up, training hard. I was training right before I came here so, all in all, I’m ready to get back after it, ready to get that belt back.”
Usman, who dominated Woodley enroute a unanimous decision at UFC 235, is expected to be out of action until late 2019 due to injury.