Former UFC welterweight star Ben Askren named Khabib Nurmagomedov as the one dream opponent he wanted outside of his normal weight class of 170lbs.
Askren retired from MMA last year after compiling a 19-2, 1 NC record from 2009 to 2019. A former champion in Bellator and ONE Championship, Askren joined the UFC in a game-breaking trade for pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson in 2018. The journey to the UFC didn’t go as planned for Askren, who suffered back-to-back stoppage losses to Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia before deciding to hang up his gloves at age 34. He cited the need for a hip replacement as one of the reasons why he decided to retire.
Throughout his career, Askren utilized a strong grappling attack to defeat a number of high-level opponents including Robbie Lawler, Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov, Shinya Aoki, and Lyman Good. He said throughout his career that he wanted the chance to fight UFC legend Georges St-Pierre to prove who the best welterweight in the world was, but that fight never came to be because both men were in separate promotions at the time.
On Friday, Askren did an AMA with his fans on Twitter, and one of the questions a fan asked “Funky” was who the one opponent is outside of 170lbs who he wished he had the chance to fight. Check out his answer below.
— Funky (@Benaskren) July 17, 2020
A fight between Askren and Nurmagomedov, the undefeated UFC lightweight champion, is a dream fight for MMA fans who love high-level grappling. Though Askren was a welterweight and Nurmagomedov is a lightweight, both men have proven throughout their careers that their wrestling is their bread-and-butter. Although there would be a size advantage in Askren’s favor in a hypothetical matchup, there’s no doubt this would have been a very intriguing fight between two of the best grapplers we’ve ever seen in MMA.
Askren is retired from MMA now after a long career in wrestling and mixed martial arts that saw him endure a lot of wear-and-tear on his body that included a hip ailment that ultimately led to his retirement. He’s retired now and has no plans on returning to the Octagon, but hardcore MMA fans who hear about this hypothetical matchup with Nurmagomedov are no doubt intrigued by what could have been. Ultimately, the fight will never happen and we’ll never know what would have happened, but it’s fun to consider.