UFCstar Ben Askren wants you to know ... he's retiring, NOT DYING -- and he's got big plans for his life after MMA.
The 35-year-old says a hip injury is forcing him to cut his fighting career short -- which sucks -- but Askren says, "My life didn't effin' end! I'm ready to go destroy my next project!"
So, what's on deck for Askren? A lot ... from opening wrestling gyms to coaching, to a possible on-air MMA commentary career.
"I think there's a chance, I think I'm gonna give it a try," says Askren, who's known as one of the most charismatic guys in MMA.
"I've got a lot of people encouraging me to give it a try. I'm still not sure if I'm gonna like it or not. I'm up for debate on that one."
As for a possible fighting future, Askren says his medical condition will PROBABLY keep him from taking another pro bout ... but he's been speaking to other wrestlers who've been through the same situation, and there's hope.
Askren says he's spoken with guys who have fully recovered from the procedure he's planning to get, which is encouraging -- but he's certainly not committing to a comeback.
Askren is 19-2 as a pro-MMA fighter and held welterweight titles in Bellator and ONE Championship. He was also a college wrestling legend at Missouri, where he was the D1 National Champion in 2006 and 2007.