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Ben Askren announces MMA retirement

On Ariel Helwani's MMA Show Monday, former Bellator and ONE champion Ben Askren announced his second retirement from MMA and from combat sports in general.

The 35-year-old said he needs his left hip replaced after having suffered with pain and mobility issues over the last three-to-five years. After consulting with doctors, the decision was to call it quits and have the surgery which isn't scheduled at this point.

Askren (19-2-0-1) rose to prominence on the wrestling mats at the University of Missouri and the U.S. Olympic team before transitioning into MMA a decade ago. After a handful of fights, he signed with Bellator for their season two welterweight tournament. Over a three-year run, he was dominant in nine fights, winning the welterweight title and defending it four times.

He also got a reputation as a trash talker who would go after anyone and everyone including UFC president Dana White who was more than happy to trade barbs with Askren in the media.

After Bellator chose to not re-sign him, Askren signed with the Asia-based ONE Fighting Championships and was a perfect 6-0-1. Similar to Bellator, he won their version of the welterweight title (185 pounds) and defended it three times before retiring in the fall of 2017.

A year later and after years of no interest from White, UFC and ONE orchestrated a "trade" of contracts which allowed former UFC flyweight great Demetrious Johnson to fight there and for Askren to finally get his long-awaited opportunity in the Octagon. He fought three times in 2019, kicking things off with a controversial submission win over Robbie Lawler followed up by his five-second viral knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal and finally a third round submission loss to Demian Maia in October.