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Ben Askren Details MMA Career in Captivating New Book

Never one to shy away from a challenge, the former welterweight champion holds nothing back in telling his story.

Ben Askren built a career in amateur wrestling and MMA complete with a wide array of highlights, and he has now added another with his new book.

Askren’s Funky: My Defiant Path Through The Wild World of Combat Sports is thorough and precise in its storytelling, building in compelling fashion to his UFC debut. It captures the essence of Askren, detailing his journey as a child when he was not particularly talented at wrestling, yet remained resolute to put in the work necessary to achieve greatness. The book also walks readers through Askren’s path to the Olympics and goes in-depth on his ill-fated boxing match against Jake Paul.

“The book is entertaining,” says Askren, who poured two years into crafting the book. “You’ll learn something, you’ll gain some knowledge, and you’re going to enjoy the story.”

Askren was undefeated in MMA for a decade. That included a controversial victory in his UFC debut against Robbie Lawler in March 2019. Four months later, he stood on the wrong side of history as Jorge Masvidal knocked him out in five seconds with a legendary flying knee at UFC 239.

“That loss, it’s obviously not ideal,” says Askren. “But it happened. I don’t let it consume me. I was undefeated, I was kept out of the UFC by Dana White, and I finally broke in. All I had to do was beat Jorge Masvidal to get a title shot. And I totally messed it up.”

Following an MMA career where he lost only two of his 22 bouts and became welterweight champion in Bellator and ONE Championship, Askren took a calculated risk in 2021 by stepping into the boxing ring against Jake Paul. It did not end well, with Askren losing the bout by TKO in under two minutes.

“The unfortunate reality of the situation is Jake Paul was a much better boxer than I anticipated,” says Askren. “I was coming off the hip surgery, I was so fat, and I was just getting back into shape.

“There were very few moments in my career when I wasn’t pursuing a takedown. That was my strategy. Boxing was never my forte. I was hoping he sucked. I thought he’d hit me, it wouldn’t hurt, he’d gas out, and I’d beat him up. I gambled wrong on that one.”

His honesty is endearing, as is the storytelling throughout the book. Askren does not mince words or opinions and gives a very enjoyable account of his noteworthy career.

“That’s the way I live my life,” says Askren. “I try to say it like it is. When you fail, you get back up and bounce back. I don’t live in fear of failure, and I don’t run from failure in this book.”