- Ben Askren’s former fight promoter thinks Jake Paul could crumble mentally in his April 17 fight.
- One Championship boss Chatri Sityodtong said boxing is Askren’s worst combat discipline.
- But, regardless, he still expects his old champion to prevail by KO should a war take place.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Paul fights for the third time as a pro boxer in an April 17 event that will be broadcast on Triller, with Justin Bieber, Major Lazer, and recently formed hip hop supergroup Mt. Westmore all providing musical support.
Though Askren is an established competitor in combat sports, he will make his boxing debut at the event having performed previously as a wrestler and mixed martial artist.
Paul appeared to target Askren as a potential opponent because striking is Askren’s weakest fighting discipline, and he will not be allowed to rely on his grappling skills while adhering to the rules of boxing.
Some in the MMA industry even suggested that Paul has the advantage in the fight, and will be the one to have his hand raised at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
But Sityodtong, who is Askren’s former fight promoter, is not one of those people.
“Obviously, Ben is a world champion wrestler and a world champion mixed martial artist,” the One Championship founder, CEO, and president told Insider on Monday.
“In a real street fight, he would destroy Jake Paul. But this is a boxing match, which is Ben’s worst discipline. And Jake Paul does have knockout power – you can see it, you know, when you hit pads.
“But it’s one thing to hit pads and it’s another to get in a war. And if this fight gets into a war, I see Jake Paul breaking.”
Sityodtong knows Askren well because the American wrestler competed in One Championship from 2014 to 2017.
Askren won six fights, advanced his pro MMA record to 18 wins unbeaten, and won the welterweight title at the organization before transferring to the UFC in 2018 for three UFC bouts the following year.
Askren joined the UFC as a champion in One and also in Bellator MMA, where he holds a decision win over Douglas Lima.
He then won a disputed result against Robbie Lawler before losing by KO Jorge Masvidal and submission to Demian Maia. Askren’s fight against Masvidal lasted just five seconds.
Despite his recent setbacks, Askren has one thing in abundance that Jake Paul is not even close to possessing – legitimate fighting experience at the highest level.
Askren appeared unflappable at a faceoff with Paul
Paul’s mind games flopped against the unflappable Askren at a pre-fight media event in which the creator lost his cool, slapped his rival, and even shoved him from behind last month.
Askren’s superior mental warfare was on display at the event. His only response to Paul’s barge was to laugh as he made his way off stage. Paul, meanwhile, was visibly and audibly angry.
“Paul doesn’t have the world champion experience that Ben does,” said Sityodtong, who is promoting a One Championship event every Wednesday in April on the TNT network in the US.
“If this goes toe-to-toe, I see Ben winning this fight by knockout because Jake will just break mentally. He doesn’t know what it’s like to fight.”
Sityodtong finished: “In Thailand we have a very famous saying. ‘There are fighters who look phenomenal on pads, in the gym sparring, but very few fighters look amazing in the ring.’
“In a real fight, a real combat situation, I think Jake has no idea what it’s like to fight in the ring.”