Ben Askren has shown interest in an MMA fight against Jake Paul.
After defeating a YouTuber (AnEsonGib) and a former basketball player (Nate Robinson), ‘The Problem Child’ sought a new challenge in the boxing ring. Paul took on Ben Askren, a former Bellator and ONE Championship world champion, knocking him out in the first round.
Twenty-one months later, Paul announced a future MMA debut after signing with the Professional Fighters League. The MMA community erupted with potential opponents, including MMA Mania, who had this to say on Twitter:
“Soooo with the news of Jake Paul signing with the PFL… Anyone up for Paul vs. Askren 2?”
Soooo with the news of Jake Paul signing with the PFL…
Anyone up for Paul vs. Askren 2? 😂 pic.twitter.com/gaYuPGOqa5
— MMA mania (@mmamania) January 5, 2023
It didn’t take long for the social media post to go viral. Askren saw the proposed matchup on Twitter and responded by saying:
“Well that would be delightful, but my UFC contract froze when I retired. Lots of hurdles to clear, someone take care of those for me and I’d love to rub his face in the canvas for a while.”
Well that would be delightful, but my UFC contract froze when I retired. Lots of hurdles to clear, someone take care of those for me and I’d love to rub his face in the canvas for a while. https://t.co/GEtqNDf0NS
— Funky (@Benaskren) January 5, 2023
‘Funky’ last competed in an MMA fight against Demian Maia in October 2019. Askren lost by a third-round submission, which was his second consecutive loss. Since then, the 38-year-old has continued coaching wrestling but received a hip replacement, which has hindered his athletic ability. The question is, would Paul and the PFL be interested in attempting to buy out his UFC contract?
— PFL (@PFLMMA) January 5, 2023
Is Ben Askren a possible MMA opponent for Jake Paul?
It’s not impossible for Ben Askren to make an MMA return, but the chances are low. Even if the UFC released ‘Funky’ from his contract, the former two-promotion world champion might be a hard sell to MMA fans, considering his hip replacement and poor showing against Jake Paul in boxing. With that said, Askren’s wrestling pedigree would still be a threat.
Another issue is that ‘The Problem Child’ already has several opponents in mind. Paul’s PFL announcement featured the former YouTuber calling out Nate Diaz for a two-fight deal – one boxing and one MMA fight. There have also been some interesting callouts towards the 25-year-old, including Anthony Pettis and Kevin Lee.
‘The Problem Child’ is being labeled the co-founder of PFL’s pay-per-view super-fight division. All fighters competing on these fight cards will be given 50% of the total revenue earned. Love him or hate him, the former YouTuber is making moves to improve fighter pay and MMA overall.
Appreciate all the support I’m seeing for this move into MMA with @PFLMMA from fighters and fans. I’m here to grow the pie for the sport, the league and the entire roster.
And for the haters – you fuel me. Keep it coming.
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) January 5, 2023