Ben Askren’s idea of a “fun Friday night” fighting a YouTube star is going to happen.
Jake Paul is set to take on former UFC fighter, Bellator champion and ONE Championship titleholder Askren will in a boxing match on an April 17 pay-per-view card. A location for the event is still to be determined.
Paul confirmed the booking in a lengthy Instagram post in which he called Askren “Mr. Napolean Dynamite look-alike.”
“It’s official 🙂 Representing the UFC Mr. Napoleon Dynamite look-alike @benaskren finally accepted the fight. He is a two-time NCAA champion, a world champion in two different global mixed martial arts organizations and has less losses on his record than Conor Mcgregor, yet, I’m still going to knock him out faster than Masvidal did… Some MMA guys think because they throw punches they know how to box. I shocked the world when I knockout an NBA superstar athlete, but some people still complained that he’s not a real fighter… So now I’m giving the people what they want by taking on a real fighter… After I add Ben to my knockout meme collection, what can anybody say? @triller Fight Club. April 17th. 82 days. The countdown starts now. Be ready.”
For weeks, Paul has primarily called for boxing matches against former UFC double champion Conor McGregor and Bellator welterweight Dillon Danis. However, Askren did throw his name into the hat in late 2020.
“I don’t know if there’s a feud, more than this guy has just said my name a few times,” Askren said in December. “Most people are like, ‘Oh, I don’t know why Ben Askren would stoop to that level.’ It’s like, listen, when I was in high school, one of the fun things to do was, a bunch of dudes would come over to the house, we’d put on some boxing gloves, and we’d try to beat the (expletive) out of each other.
“Like, we did that for free. We just did that for fun. And now you’re telling me you’re gonna pay me a whole bunch of money to beat up a YouTube star? Like, I don’t know, that just sounds like a fun Friday night to me.”
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Later in December, Askren claimed any progress on a potential March matchup had hit a standstill, and he questioned Paul’s interest in the fight.
With the matchup now officially on the books, Paul will look to advance to 3-0 in his professional boxing career. In his debut, Paul defeated fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib by first-round TKO. He then followed up with a brutal second-round knockout of former NBA star Nate Robinson. This will be his first bout against someone with professional combat sports experience.
As for Askren, the wrestling-based fighter will compete in his first pro boxing match. Askren has not competed in a striking combat sport since his three-fight stint with the UFC ended in two straight losses and his subsequent retirement in November 2019.