UFC fighters, social media react to Ben Askren retirement

MMA news

Ben Askren‘s legacy is different things to different people. To those who saw him as a loud-mouthed, over-hyped, boring wrestler, his retirement Monday likely was met with a shrug and declaration that his 1-2 record in the UFC defined a failed stint against MMA’s best.

But to others, Askren was more than an athlete to cheer or jeer. To ESPN’s No. 5-ranked light heavyweight Corey Anderson, Askren is the reason he’s in the UFC. Askren was coaching Anderson during his senior season at Newberry (S.C.) College and convinced the wrestler to branch out.

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“Thanks for guiding me in the right direction as a wrestling coach, my influencer into fighting, and always giving me business advice,” Anderson tweeted. “All the best in your next venture.”

Former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman echoed a sentiment shared by many in the wrestling community.

“You were a huge inspiration to me and many more,” Weidman tweeted. “From wrestling you in high school when I was very young to watching you throughout your wrestling and MMA careers, I learned a lot from your unique techniques as well as your mindset.”

The wrestling program at Missouri, where Askren was a two-time NCAA champ, and the One Championship promotion, where Askren was a champion, also paid homage.

Conor McGregor’s coach and teammate Dillon Danis, two-time Bellator champ Douglas Lima and UFC welterweight Anthony Rocco Martin , also weighed in.

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