Ben Askren to Box Youtuber Jake Paul on April 17

Ben Askren ONE Championship
Credit: ONE Championship

Former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren will be coming out of retirement to box YouTuber Jake Paul in an exhibition bout on April 17 promoted by Triller.

Jake Paul has officially succeeded in pulled one of the stars of mixed martial arts into the boxing ring.  It was announced early Tuesday that the YouTuber will be fighting former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion Jake Paul in an eight round exhibition bout on April 17 in the second event to be held by Triller.

Since his viral knockout of former two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion Jake Robinson on the undercard of the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr event, Paul has publicly called out Askren, Bellator’s Dillon Danis, and has gone as far to push for a future bout against Conor McGregor.  Besides his fight with Robinson, Paul has boxed once professionally and once as an amateur.  Notably, both opponents were also YouTubers: Deji (the younger brother of YouTuber KSI whom Paul’s older brother Logan boxed twice) and AnEnson Gib (real name Ali Loui Al-Fakhri).  Jake Paul is best known for being one of the most followed content creators on YouTube with over 20 million subscribers.

Ben Askren is a decorated former Olympic wrestler who went on to have great success in mixed martial arts as the most dominant welterweight champion in Bellator history with five victories in title fights.  In 2013, Askren went to ONE Championship in free agency and went on to win and defend the welterweight title there.  In 2017, Askren retired with several fights left on his deal and as the reigning champion.  He would famously return to competition in a one-of-a-kind trade between the UFC and ONE (for Demetrious Johnson) and fought three times in the Octagon in 2019: a controversial victory against Robbie Lawler, a loss to Demian Maia, and the Knockout of the Year loss to Jorge Masvidal.  Askren announced his permanent retirement from MMA in late 2019 and has focused on his podcast with Rokfin and coaching at his gym since.  Notably, Askren previously accused Paul of going silent in talks for a bout late last year when talks first began to emerge for a fight.

Per ESPN, the bout is expected to headline the event on April 17.  The bout is expected to be an eight round exhibition bout.  No undercard bouts have been announced for the card nor the musical acts which Triller famously has as part of each event.