The pursuit of glory fueled Ben Askren to the end, as he made short work of Shinya Aoki at ONE Championship: Immortal Pursuit on Friday.
In the end, Ben Askren walked away from the sport of MMA an undefeated two-promotion champion. And while we’ll never know how he would have fared in the UFC, one thing is certain: he’ll forever be remembered as the best welterweight never to appear in the octagon.
Askren stepped into the cage for the final time in Kallang, Singapore on Friday, defending his belt against Japan’s Shinya Aoki. It didn’t take long for Askren to shine. Aoki, in a calculated move, pulled guard early. The risk backfired. Askren stayed standing, and slammed Aoki to the canvas. A barrage of right hands connected with the former lightweight champion’s head, and it wasn’t long before the ref stepped in. For the first time in his career, Ben Askren finished a fight in under a minute. Against one of the biggest names available in ONE Championship outside of his own, he secured one last glorious victory.
Ultimately, Ben Askren’s career is going to be dissected over and over by MMA enthusiasts. Besting names like Andrey Koreshkov, Douglas Lima (Bellator’s current welterweight champ), and now Aoki, Askren fought some quality names over the years. What he didn’t do was fight the best of the best, because of promotional pettiness and his own choice to go where the money was.
Rest assured, Askren was the most dominant “pure” wrestler of his era. A top ten in any promotion he possibly could have competed in. Beyond that? Unless the UFC comes calling, we’ll never know.
Mei Yamaguchi secured her shot against Angela Lee, Amir Khan made a case for his own shot at the lightweight title currently held by Martin Nguyen, and both Tiffany Teo and May Ooi shone on the night. There was a lot to love at ONE Championship: Immortal Pursuit — so don’t miss our gallery of the night’s action below, courtesy of ONE!