Ben Askren on fighting Jake Paul, Snoop Dogg betting $2 million against him, WWE wanting to sign him

Image Credit: Instagram @benaskren

Ben Askren is a retired UFC fighter, amateur wrestler, and podcaster. He joins Chris Van Vliet from his home in Hartland, Wisconsin before his boxing match with Jake Paul on April 17. He talks about why Jake chose him as his opponent, training with Freddie Roach, his retirement from UFC, Jake’s comments about his wife, what he remembers from the fight with Jorge Masvidal, his passion for BitCoin, WWE’s interest in him, and his trip to the Performance Center, Dana White’s $1 million bet on this fight, Snoop Dogg wanting to make it a $2 million bet, wanting to fight Logan Paul if he wins this and much more!

On how big this fight has gotten:

“I mean the guy’s got a huge social media following right? I realized that there was going to be quite a bit of attention on it. But now, especially with the announcement today, it’s going to be a really really big thing. You know [Justin] Bieber has got a very large following, Snoop Dogg has a really large following, there’s a lot of big names on this thing.”

On whether it feels like his biggest fight ever:

“[laughs], hmmm. It doesn’t to me. I’m retired, and this sounded like a fun thing, so I’m gonna do it. I’m working hard and trying to be a boxer. But for other things, those were my life. Wrestling, whether it was trying to win a state title or national title in college, the Olympics or the Olympic trials, those are huge things obviously. I’ve ever fought for or defended a world title in 10 of my 21 professional MMA fights. It doesn’t feel like the biggest fight to me, but yes I think there probably will be more eyes on this than anything I’ve probably ever done.”

On traditional boxing fans not liking the upcoming fight:

“A lot of people have an issue with it. I think it’s one of the things where it’s like I know it’s not ideal but that’s just the way the world works. If these people have gigantic social media followings, and they not as good at boxing as a low level pro, but they are going to get a ton of extra eyeballs.”

On why Jake Paul picked Ben as his opponent:

“I think there’s a combination of me having a pretty good social media following, and he probably thinks I’m not that good at boxing. Those are probably the factors that went into it.”

On Jake Paul’s boxing abilities:

“It has improved, but my whole contention, the whole thing that I have said from the beginning is that if he is good boxer, I’m probably not going to do very well. I was in there with Freddy [Roach] and this guy Gabe Rosado was in there and I’m like I want no part of him. That guy fought for world titles. I’m not that level boxer and I have no illusion that I am at that level. But I don’t think Jake Paul’s that good. While he may look good in those videos and stuff, there’s a big difference between being in the training room and then stepping out on a big stage fighting someone who will be in your face and hit back. I know how to deal with that type of thing and I don’t think that he does. So I’m going to try and expose him for what he is.”

On training with Freddie Roach:

“He was awesome. It was great spending a week out there and seeing how he and the other guys worked. He was great, I picked up quite a few things from him. I’ve had the luxury of being able to work with quite a few good people, but he would be at the top of the list.”

Comparing boxing training to MMA

“Boxing is so much different from MMA because it’s such a specified skillset, you’re only doing a small amount of things. There’s no kicking, there’s no elbowing, there’s no takedowns or grappling. So it’s like focus on this really small skillset. I’ve definitely gotten better at it. The other thing is that I did do some stand-up MMA, but most of my stand-up was how do I get close enough to take my opponent down. If I hit the opponent great, but I’m not too worried about that. Because once I get them on the ground, I hit them a whole bunch. Especially in the first couple of weeks, it was OK why am I doing this? Is it because I want to take you down or do I want to clinch you? Also, learning the differences in the clinching in boxing, which is mainly so they can keep their hand free so they can throw them. In MMA we can pull the opponent in to take them down, or pull them into an elbow. That’s borderline illegal in boxing though [laughs].”

On Jake Paul’s previous fights:

“They’re not very good right. I always say it’s so hard to judge someone’s skill level when this discrepancy is so vast. Nate Robinson looked like he had never been punched before, I think it was obvious that he had never been in a fight. How can I judge someone against that because that was so bad, almost everything is going to look good. The other kid that he fought was even worse than that, he was really bad. I actually don’t think that there is a lot to take away from those fights, besides that Nate Robinson got scared and he was able to land one right hand.”

On his favourite MMA fights:

“The ones where I was at my pinnacle were Douglas Lima. When I won the belt 18 months into my Bellator career, I was still figuring it out. I didn’t really know what I was doing but I was getting there. I took me a few fights after that, I think Douglas Lima was my 3rd title defence. So that fight, the Karl Amoussou fight and the Andrey Koreshkov fight were the ones where I was über dominant. None of the rounds were competitive I won every single round very easily.”

On Dana White betting $1 million dollars on Ben:

“Dana loves to gamble and he knows fighting, so yeah it seems reasonable for him. Snoop Dogg has bet $2 million against me and he knows nothing about fighting, and I guess he likes to waste money, so that’s also reasonable.”

On whether WWE have ever contacted him:

“They did, I went down there in October to the Performance Center. It was fun they we’re really cool. Back in my college days, there was this guy Gerald Brisco. He would always say ‘Ben, if you weighed over 200lbs I could make you a million dollars.’ I said to Jerry I’m not going to be that big ever, so sorry. When I was at the PC, Gerald hung out with me there too, he’s a great guy. I left with an open door there, I couldn’t do it full time because I have my wrestling academy. But they were really cool and they run a professional operation down there.”

On his prediction for the fight:

“Jake is predicting a first round knock out, but I think the knockout will be in the 7th.”

On what he is grateful for:

“My family, bitcoin and wrestling academies.”

Ben Askren can be found on Twitter here and Instagram here

Video version of the interview can be found below:

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *