UFC welterweight Ben Askren recently announced that the need for hip replacement surgery would send him into retirement.
Having been undefeated as the Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight titleholder, it would be easy for Askren to use the injury, which he has been dealing with for the past few years, as an excuse for having lost back-to-back fights to Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia. But he’s not gonna go there.
In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Askren made it clear that his hip wasn’t the reason he lost the final two bouts of his professional career.
“I don’t want to put any part of my results in question because of (the hip injury). I lost because I wasn’t good enough,” he admitted. “There’s a date of your competition. You f-ing show up in whatever condition you’re in. Who knows? Maia and Masvidal, they’re probably not a hundred percent. They probably got s**t they’re dealing with.”
The UFC made sure that no one would forget the classic 2011 UFC 139 fight between former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and UFC 17 middleweight tournament champion and former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson when they inducted the fight into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018.
Not many people have heard of MMA fighter Davy Gallon, but nearly everyone interested in MMA – and many that aren’t – are now familiar with the infamous rolling thunder kick he used to knock out UFC veteran Ross Pearson.
Pearson retired from the UFC in early 2019 having lost six of his last seven bouts in the Octagon. A few months later, he opted to return for the main event of Probellum 1 on his home turf in London, but things didn’t go as planned.
World-champion boxer Claressa Shields is widely regarded as one of the top female boxers of all time. She is currently the undisputed middleweight champion of the world, holding the designation for all of the major boxing organizations.
In addition to being a boxer, Shields has long expressed a desire to become a two-sport star and crossover into the world of mixed martial arts. She has even trained with Cris Cyborg, but after Amanda Nunes toppled Cyborg and became a two-division champion, Shields has set her aim on Nunes.
Shields’ promoter, Dmitriy Salita, told TMZ Sports recently that he believes a fight between Nunes and Shields could happen as soon as sometime in the next six to 12 months.
That sounds a bit ambitious, however, as Nunes is already scheduled to fight Germaine de Randamie in December and Salita himself stated that Shields’ next boxing fight is about to be announced as well. Whether such a super fight took place under MMA or boxing rules, the fighter who was crossing over would certainly want some time to prepare for such a big move, particularly Shields, who has never fought professional mixed martial arts, which encompasses many more skill sets than boxing.
UFC welterweight Ben Askren announced his retirement on Monday’s edition of Ariel Helwani’s MMA show on ESPN. Askren has retired before, but this time it appears it is going to stick, primarily because of Askren’s need for hip replacement surgery, which he discussed in detail and said would end his chances of returning to the Octagon.
Askren was a two-time national championship wrestler in college and competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. He went on to become the long-reigning Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight titleholder before eventually fighting in the UFC.
Former UFC light heavyweight contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has been talking about possibly returning to the fight game for quite some time. Now, however, he’s returned to the gym and gearing up to step back into the Octagon sometime around late spring or early summer of 2020.
Johnson began his run as one of the UFC’s most prolific knockout artists as a welterweight in 2007. Constantly struggling to make weight, he eventually left the promotion in 2012, finding success outside the Octagon at both light heavyweight and heavyweight.
He returned in 2014, eventually making a run at the 205-pound belt, but falling short on two separate occasions.
Johnson retired after losing to Daniel Cormier a second time in 2017, but has constantly had the itch to get back in the cage and knock guys out. This time when he returns, he’s not going to mess around with weight cutting at all and plans to fight at heavyweight.
“Right now I feel good being at 240,” Johnson told the MacLife. “If I were to fight right now at heavyweight for 240, I’d feel just fine. I feel like I still have my strength. I’m definitely not going to be one of the bigger heavyweight guys, there’s some monsters at heavyweight, but my advantage would probably be speed over a majority of those guys. Everybody at heavyweight for the most part has power, but I think I’m much faster than those guys and I’ll probably have a little bit more knockout power.”
Anthony Johnson training for a UFC run at heavyweight
Having returned to sparring, where he says he has knocked out two of his training partners, Johnson is looking forward to a UFC return sometime around June or July of 2020, though he has yet to iron out the details with the UFC.
“We have to go over things and just figure some stuff out but it’s all looking good so far; nothing bad. I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth and say too much, but everything’s looking good right now,” said Johnson
“I was trying to shoot for April or May, but maybe June or July (is more likely). Whenever I come back, I’m going to make sure it’s known. I want to come back and showcase everything and fight and just hurt people.”
At a meeting with school kids in the Moscow Region, Khabib Nurmagomedov was asked about his proudest victory. Playing to his crowd, Nurmagomedov said that he didn’t like hurting people, but had to admit, he took pleasure in beating Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in 2018.