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Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight contender Ben Askren holds the unwanted record for suffering the quickest loss in UFC history when he was knocked out cold in just five seconds by Jorge Masvidal’s flying knee back in July.
The defeat was Askren’s first-ever professional loss in the sport and rather than shy away from the record-setting KO, the 35-year-old has embraced it, even poking fun at himself in the process.
Askren says it would have made the situation worse if he didn’t acknowledge it and move on, unlike former women’s champion Ronda Rousey (via MMAFighting.com):
“I think that’s the worst thing you can do,” Askren said of fighters who don’t address their losses. “I mean obviously if you want to point to who did it the worst was Ronda [Rousey].
“I always feel like I want to tell my story the way I want to tell it, and if you hide in the corner, everyone else is going to talk about what you’re going to do. Listen, it happens. It’s part of the sport or even life for that matter. Losses happen. I think the best thing you can do is say, ‘That happened. What am I going to do now?’”
Rousey made it clear she did not want to talk about or even acknowledge her knockout loss against Holly Holm in Melbourne, Australia, and avoided all the usual media requirements ahead of her next fight against Amanda Nunes the following year.
After being finished by Nunes in what was ultimately her last fight, Rousey did open up about the loss but it was several months after.
“I think that lack of candor on her part leads to a lot of speculation from everybody else,” Askren said. “If she sets the record straight, it sort of shuts all that down.”
Askren said he wants to get back on track as soon as possible and will face Brazilian grappling ace Demian Maia in Singapore on Oct. 26. Askren addressed any fears that he was rushing back too soon, suggesting the knee he received from Masvidal likely hit him in the neck rather than his head:
“I feel like he hit me in the neck because I never had any head pain, no headaches, no nothing ever,” he explained. “They gave me the 45-day no-contact suspension, so I abided by that. But really the UFC hit me up a week later and said, ‘Do you want to main event in Singapore?’ Prior to that, I figured I’ll sit out for 45 days, take the time off and maybe take December. The Las Vegas card looked like a big one. Then they offered me the fight.
“I talked to a few of my buddies who are doctors about head trauma issues, and they’re like ‘It’s OK. Let’s do this.’”