Like it or not, Ben Askren knows his name will always be attached to Jorge Masvidal.
After falling victim to the fastest knockout in UFC history — a blistering five-second demolition from a flying knee delivered by Masvidal back in 2019 — Askren will always have to live with that memory, but he was reminded yet again this past weekend at UFC 272.
Ahead of his fight with Colby Covington in the main event, Masvidal showed off some new ink he got on his shoulder that immortalized the Askren knockout with a silhouette from his jaw-dropping sequence. Needless to say, Askren wasn’t impressed.
“It’s terrible,” Askren said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “Oh God, it just looks like crap. That’s something like a teenager gets and you’re like, ‘Oh s***, I thought that was going to look a lot better, I thought this was going to be really badass but it looks kind of dopey.’ He’s rich. He can go to the best tattoo artist in the place.”
Even in defeat, Askren never hid from the loss nor denied Masvidal his moment after such a memorable finish, but now the former Olympic wrestler knows exactly how much that knockout meant to the popular UFC welterweight.
“I think it’s semi-telling how important that singular moment was to his career,” Askren said. “He knows it and tattooed it on his body because it was that important to him.”
As for Masvidal’s most recent performance, where he ultimately lost a lopsided decision to Covington over five rounds at UFC 272, Askren wasn’t exactly surprised by how the fight played out.
One thing Askren really took issue with, however, was how Masvidal claimed afterwards that he was still planning on breaking Covington’s jaw if they ever crossed paths in the street.
“Kind of what we expected,” Askren said of the fight. “The thing that I get annoyed about is Jorge wants to fight him after the fight, and it’s like, you just had 25 minutes to do almost anything you want. You can’t eye gouge and bite — we’ve got a couple rules, but not a lot — so you can do whatever you want for 25 minutes, and now you’re going to act like you want more? Hey, you had 25 minutes, freaking do it to him.
“Obviously, Jorge did clip him one time, so I thought that was a possibility. Unfortunately, he’s had some good strikes in his career land. I thought it was way more likely that Colby kind of just controls him and beats him up.”
Heading into the fight, Masvidal was a sizable underdog, so it wasn’t exactly surprising that Covington dominated him for the majority of the five rounds they spent together.
According to Askren, that’s just further proof that Masvidal has never truly reinvented himself, despite the narrative that he became a completely new fighter en route to reaching star status in the UFC.
Askren can’t negate the five-second knockout — and Masvidal certainly made the most out of that win, coupled with impressive performances against Darren Till and Nate Diaz as well — but overall, Askren sees Masvidal as the same fighter who’d often put together a few solid wins in a row before then losing to better competition, just as he’s done in his recent streak where he’s fallen to Covington after back-to-back losses to UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
“This is who Jorge was always. Never changed,” Askren said. “Unfortunately, he nailed me. Because the [Nate] Diaz [win] isn’t all that great. That was a great fight for him, but if you want to look back at his mixed martial arts career — and people can get mad at me, say what they want — but these are just facts. He’s lost three in a row; before that, he won three in a row. Before that he lost two in a row, before that he won three in a row. Before that he lost three of four, and then he won three, and then he lost one, and then he won three.
“This is how his career went. He’s like 35-15. He’s had some good wins. He’s had some not-so-great losses.”