Former US Olympic wrestler and reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren took to the cage for the final time in his illustrious career on Friday night.
To cap off a perfect career, he turned in one of the most impressive performances, and even scored the fastest win on his record.
In a complete destruction of former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki of Japan, Askren finished Aoki within a minute of round one. The bout took place as the main event of ONE: IMMORTAL PURSUIT, which took place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 24 November.
With a series of powerful ground strikes, he pummelled his Japanese foe until referee Olivier Coste called a halt to the contest at the 0:57 mark, giving him the TKO victory.
The 33-year-old Askren, who enjoyed his run as a multiple-time ONE Welterweight World Champion, extended his unblemished record to 18-0, 1 NC with the win, and retained his belt in the process.
Facing Japanese martial arts legend Aoki was supposed to be Askren’s toughest contest to date. However, the former US Olympian proved once again that he is without a doubt one of the best welterweights of all time with another vintage performance.
The first round began with both martial artists circling each other at the center of the ONE cage. As soon as the gap closed, however, Aoki jumped and tried to pull guard. Askren then used his deceptive strength to slam “Tobikan Judan” to the mat.
In Aoki’s guard, Askren postured up and began unloading punches on the Japanese warrior. After a handful of clean shots landed, Aoki had no choice but to cover up and go into defensive mode. “Funky” then began to tee off, and the bout was stopped shortly after.
If this is indeed the final time we witness Askren’s greatness in the cage, then what a run it has been. After joining ONE Championship in 2014, and capturing the ONE Welterweight World Championship with a TKO of former titleholder Nobutatsu Suzuki, Askren went on to win four more bouts to close out his career, and put this chapter of his life behind him.
Following the victory of Aoki, Askren took the time to thank those who have helped him throughout his professional stint, as well as his parents. The “Funky” competitor is also looking forward to taking an executive position with ONE Championship, although his official role has yet to be announced.