Former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champion Ben Askren may be stepping inside a boxing ring against YouTube star Jake Paul in March 2021, according to a report from BJPenn.com and the fighter himself.
Askren, 36, retired from mixed martial arts after losing to Demian Maia in October 2019 at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Askren in Singapore. “Funky” fought three times in the UFC before hanging up his gloves, defeating former UFC welterweight champ Robbie Lawler and losing to Jorge Masvidal and Maia. Askren is known for his grappling prowess and has a professional record of 19-2, with six wins via KO/TKO, six wins via submission and seven wins via decision.
Paul is 2-0 in his boxing career, most recently knocking out NBA point guard Nate Robinson in the second round of their co-main event bout during Triller’s Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.
Before the bout, “The Problem Child” had challenged Askren multiple times through the media and online. And on Tuesday, three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen tweeted: “@jakepaul doesn’t trust many in the media to spread the word…. I’m was told ‘Ben then Dillion.'”
He shared a fight poster with Paul and Askren, dated March 28 and taking place in Los Angeles, California. The poster also shows Triller as the promotion.
“The American Gangster’s” tweet prompted MMA media outlet BJPenn.com to reach out to Askren as there hasn’t been an official announcement for the bout. The outlet wrote, “BJPENN.com reached out to Ben Askren who confirmed the fight was happening. His hip is also doing much better, he revealed.”
“I think so. He needs to get beat up,” Askren told BJPENN.com.
According to the Irish Mirror’s Donagh Corby, Triller said the Paul vs. Askren match “is certainly not officially confirmed” and that the promotion has “no idea” where the poster came from.
Askren Says He ‘Accepts’ Paul’s Challenge for March 28, 2021
Askren later took to Instagram to respond to Paul’s challenge, accepting it and saying that he “see” the Problem Child on March 28, 2021, in Los Angeles for a boxing bout.
Yes Mr. Jake Paul, I do accept. I know you called me out after your last fight against that bum, Nate Robinson. Listen, it’s a pretty simple choice. I’m going to make a whole bunch of money to beat up a guy who is pretending to be an athlete. Because at the end of the day, that’s what you’re doing. I know you may think I don’t have too many standup skills. Also, at the end of the day, I don’t really need to. I’m a world-class athlete, I’ve won NCAA titles, I’ve been to the Olympics, I’ve won belts in multiple mixed martial arts organizations and quite frankly, I am impressed that you have diluted yourself to thinking that you’re actually a fighter. That you’re really tough, that you can really box. It’s quite impressive that beating up another YouTuber and beating up a boxer who looked like he’d never been in a ring before makes you somehow good at boxing. But it doesn’t. So yes, Jake, I accept. I will see you March 28 in Los Angeles and I will humble you…
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Paul Has Challenged Multiple MMA Stars, Including Conor McGregor & Dillon Danis
A few weeks after the November 28 bout between Paul and Robinson, the Problem Child took to Instagram to issue a scathing challenge to UFC superstar Conor McGregor. In the callout, Paul slammed McGregor, his wife Dee Devlin, UFC lightweight Dustin Poirier and UFC president Dana White.
In the viral video, Paul also claimed to have offered McGregor $50 million for the proposed boxing match. The next day, the Problem Child rolled up to the Irishman’s training partner, Dillon Danis, who was being interviewed by Brendan Schaub in Los Angeles. Paul, along with his crew, threw water balloons and toilet paper at Danis before driving off.
Paul and Danis have gone back and forth on social media, with both men showing interest in a possible match. Danis is 2-0 as a mixed martial artist and fights for Bellator.
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Askren Was Undefeated in MMA for Most of His Career
Funky was long viewed as one of the best fighters competing outside of the UFC. Before signing with the promotion in 2019, Askren had built an impressive record of 18-0 with one no contest.
He won both the ONE and Bellator welterweight championship belts during his career, defeating the likes of Douglas Lima, Shinya Aoki, Andrey Koreshkov and Jay Hieron.
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