5 Things You Should Know About Ben Askren
Ben Askren’s resume reads like few others. He hopes that someday it includes an Ultimate Fighting Championship title. Askren will lock horns with longtime American Top Team standout Jorge Masvidal in a three-round welterweight showcase at UFC 239 on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The 34-year-old Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native finds himself on a five-fight winning streak during which he has finished four of his five opponents. The Roufusport representative last appeared at UFC 235 on March 2, when he submitted former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler with a first-round bulldog choke.
As Askren approaches his pivotal battle with Masvidal, here are five things you should know about him.
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1. His transition to MMA was seamless.
Askren made his professional mixed martial arts debut under the Headhunter Productions banner on Feb. 7, 2009 and has since compiled a 19-0 record with one no-contest.
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2. More often than not, he finishes what he starts.
Despite widespread criticism of his grind-heavy style, Askren has delivered more than half (12) of his 19 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Photo: Dux Carvajal/ONE Championship (Getty Images)
3. He understands what it takes to master a domain.
Askren is one of five men who have captured the undisputed Bellator MMA welterweight championship. Lyman Good, Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov and Rory MacDonald are the others. Askren held the title from Oct. 21, 2010 until he vacated it to sign with One Championship on Nov. 14, 2013. His 1,120-day stay at the top remains the longest reign in the history of the Bellator organization.
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4. He was forged in a crucible.
Askren was a four-time NCAA All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri, where he won two national championships. He was twice (2006-07) awarded the Dan Hodge Trophy—collegiate wrestling’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. Askren still ranks first on Missouri’s all-time list in career victories with 153.
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5. He pressed his luck on the global stage.
Askren competed in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where he placed seventh. He pinned Hungary’s Istvan Vereb in the first round before a loss on points to Ivan Fundora resulted in his elimination in the quarterfinals.
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