Ben Askren was Paul’s first official combat sports opponent. He previously fought a Youtuber and a retired basketball player before facing “Funky” in the boxing ring. Nobody knew Paul’s level before this fight and many people favored Askren in this match. But Paul selected Askren because he was the most beatable mainstream name available. Askren won championships in MMA with Bellator and ONE. Later, he also fought for the UFC and was an entertaining trash-talker.
But Askren based his entire fighting style on his wrestling base. His striking and therefore boxing was horrible because he rarely used it in the cage. Furthermore, the veteran underwent a hip replacement before facing Paul. He was also significantly smaller and this gave Paul a massive advantage. In the end, Paul exploited Askren and humiliated him (via DAZN).