Demetrious Johnson Predicts Jake Paul vs Ben Askren
Demetrious Johnson has given his thoughts on the upcoming boxing match between Jake Paul and Ben Askren, set to headline the Triller Fight Club in Atlanta on April 17th.
Askren is an Olympian, a two-time NCAA Division I national champion, and a former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion, who retired from MMA in 2019. Paul, who is a 2-0 in his boxing career, has opened as a strong betting favourite however.
$1 Million Bet
“Let’s all be honest, and Ben Askren I think would talk about it, Ben Askren hasn’t been the best striker in mixed martial arts,” Johnson said. “Do I think he’ll be the best striker in boxing? I would say I don’t think it’s gonna happen. When I look at how well Jake Paul moves, and he does have some rhythm to his movement, I think Ben Askren, he’s been a world champion in mixed martial arts because he can grind out someone, he can wrestle, he can take people out of their element.
“But when it’s boxing, and you’re in that one element, it’s very hard to get someone out of their element. Yes, he’s gonna smother him and do his dirty boxing, but yes, I know Jake Paul is a YouTube star, [but] he’s training just as hard as a world champion is. He has unlimited access to the best trainers in the world. He has the funding, not saying Ben Askren doesn’t but anytime you fight somebody who has training, there’s always that chance. I’m not discounting Ben Askren out of this fight. But if somebody came to me and said, ‘Demetrious Johnson, here’s $1 million, who are you putting the money on? You have to f***ing bet, if you don’t bet, I’m taking the $1 million with me,’ well, f***, I’m throwing it on Jake Paul. I think he’s gonna win the fight. If I don’t bet, I’m gonna lose it anyways so I’ll go ahead and bet on Jake Paul.”
Hoping For Ben Askren To Win
Although Johnson is picking Paul to win, he will be rooting for Askren to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
“I want Ben Askren to win,” Johnson said. “I hope he wins because he comes from my line of sport. He’s a wrestler taking on a YouTube star. But when I look at it, I’m like, dude, Jake Paul actually has knockout power. Ben Askren’s been knocked out before so it’s not like it can’t happen again.”
While Johnson says he’ll be surprised if Askren beats Paul on the night, he’s still happy that ‘Funky’ is getting paid well.
“[I would handle it exactly] the way that he is,” Johnson said. “At the end of the day, people need to realise that we’re all human, we all have feelings, we all have goals, and we all want to put a show on for everybody. If Ben Askren goes out there, gets knocked out, and gets the bricks beaten off of him, I’m gonna treat him the same way as if he won that fight.
“I think Ben Askren is an amazing human being. He’s great. He’s very creative, he’s hilarious, I’m a big fan of his Twitter feed and how he just goes on there and talks so much stuff. But I think he’s gonna go out there and give it a hell of a time, and if he goes out there and wins, I wouldn’t be… I’ll actually be surprised if he goes out there and wins. But I’m happy he still has the ability to go out and do this. He’ll make some good money and everyone that would make fun of him, he’ll be going to cash that big cheque probably on that Monday morning.
“Danny Castillo, I’ll never forget this, everybody booed him somewhere. He goes, ‘You’re gonna boo me? You know what? That’s okay because when I’m driving to the bank Monday morning to cash my cheque, you f***ers will all be at work working,’ and I thought he was such a gangster for saying that. That’s always a good way to look at it, right?”
Are you backing Jake Paul to beat Ben Askren, like Demetrious Johnson is?