BEN ASKREN surrounded himself with the 'wrong people' ahead of his ill-fated clash with Jake Paul, according to UFC lightweight Tony Ferguson.
The former Bellator and ONE Championship welterweight champion suffered a brutal first-round KO loss to the YouTuber in his professional boxing debut last month.
Askren, 36, briefly trained for the bout at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles with legendary coach Freddie Roach – who will be in Ferguson's corner this weekend at UFC 262.
But Ferguson believes the Olympic wrestler didn't properly immerse himself in the sweet science.
In an interview with The Schmo, he said of his meeting with Funky: "I'm gonna be real: it was cool.
"I told him he's coachable and that he's gonna have a good shot but he's going to have to hit the bag.
"Boxing is no joke, man. You can go out there and learn the sport, but it's an Olympic sport. People forget that.
"MMA is so young it hasn't made it to that spot yet. When I started surrounding myself around boxers, that's what you get. You get into that mentality. That structured mentality.
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"Ben, he went over there and I could kinda see that he was [working] really hard and he was doing his thing.
"But he was surrounding himself with the wrong people and the vibe about too much of the hype."
Despite believing Askren could've surrounded himself with a better team, Ferguson respects the Iowa native for stepping into the ring.
He continued: "Hats off to him to be going out there and to be able to do it because nobody else did it.
"I'm gonna be real: he put in the work and hopefully he got paid for that s**t, man.
"Next time, keep your hands up and your chin down."
Askren was bitterly disappointed with the outcome of his maiden foray into the ring but insists the fight was by no means fixed.
He told ESPN: "That's human nature [to question the fight] but it definitely didn't happen, I got hit.
"I guess the question I have for people is what do I gain from it?
"I told you guys what I made for this fight, it was a very nice paycheque but I'm also not destitute and poor, so what do I gain by that? The answer is nothing.
"I think in fact I would lose a lot and it's not something that would ever cross my mind.
"I said if they guy's a good boxer then I'm going to lose. There was a fear he had around me and there was a feeling that maybe he wasn't very good.
"In the locker room I was pretty confident I was going to win but… the result afterwards is irrelevant to me, my life is going to be the same either way."
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