Retired MMA fighter Ben Askren believes that UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman had the chance to gain new fans, but he blew it.
Askren believes that Colby Covington is arguably the most hated fighter in sport. For that reason, he feels that Usman could have gained some new fans if he played along Covington, assuming the role of the “good guy” in the lead-up to the fight.
He appeared on a recent episode of the Submission Radio, sharing his thoughts on Usman’s ability to be a star in the sport:
“I think Usman is like the worst promoter in the history of mixed martial arts,” Askren said. “Because for me, here’s the thing: Colby is literally the most hated promoter, personality, fighter in the UFC, right? And so when Usman is going against him, it’s like OK, you’ve got the bad guy Colby, and then you’ve got Usman – who, all he has to do is he’s got to play the good guy and everyone’s gonna love him and everyone’s gonna cheer for him, right?
“But Usman just could not figure out how to make people like him,” Askren added. “Like, he just could not figure it out. It would be so easy to make Colby the bad guy – he’s already the bad guy. He already plays the bad guy. It’s so simple. Just play into that and you’re the good guy – you’re the face, everyone loves you. But Usman couldn’t figure out how to do it.”
Ben Askren is a former ONE Championship and Bellator MMA champion. He eventually joined the UFC roster, fighting Robbie Lawler in his debut at UFC 235. Askren won the fight via submission in the 1st round. In his next fight he lost to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 via KO in just 5 seconds into the very 1st round. That was also the fastest knockout in UFC history. For his last fight he faced Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 162, losing to the Brazilian grappler via submission in the 3rd round.
He has since retired from competing in professional MMA.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 19th March, 2020.