Ben Askren has been making the most of his time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship spotlight since the promotion unveiled him last year in a fighter trade with One Championship, but Kamaru Usman has a less-than-flattering explanation for his popularity.
Askren has been on a mission to get his name out on social media by attacking his peers with his patented “boom roasted” shtick and it seems to be paying dividends in light of the traction of his tweets on Twitter. The undefeated 34-year-old finally made his Octagon debut at UFC 235 earlier this month, controversially submitting former welterweight champ Robbie Lawler and is now eyeing a bigger fish including newly crowned champion Usman. Usman beat Askren’s friend and team mate Tyron Woodley earlier this month at the same event to claim the 170-pound belt.
Askren often refers to Usman as “Marty from Nebraska” in reference to the champ’s nickname during his days wrestling in high school and college. Usman isn’t impressed with “Funky” and his comments and even confronted the former One Championship and Bellator welterweight champion before the UFC 235 press conference before both men were separated by security.
Usman believes the reason Askren’s following on Twitter has blown up since his signing with the UFC is because he a “troll” who appeals to others of his kind (transcribed via MMANews.com):
“He’s just a troll,” Usman said in a media scrum the weekend of UFC 235. “There’s a reason a lot of people relate to him. Because a lot of trolls are… people behind the computer at home, they’re eating doughnuts. They look like Ben Askren, to be honest. They got the hair like him; they got the gut like him; so they relate to him. So it’s all fun and games. It’s not personal.”