T Nation

Ben Askren Finally in the UFC?


#1

This could be interesting. About time. Thoughts and opinions?


#2

Serious lack of fight fans here. So sad.

Ben Askren 4 time all American out of Mizzou. 4 x NCAA finalist, 2 x NCAA champ. Division 1. Freestyle National champ, Freestyle world champ, Bellator welterweight champ, One fighting championship champ.

Now the man gets to come to the UFC. He is 34 years old. I think he has some fight left. Should have been there years ago. Such bullshit that its taken this long.

He wrestled at Mizzou with Tyron Woodley and trains to this day with him. Woodley sings him nothing but high praise. Says he would destroy GSP and Khabib. Obviously they are teammates but exciting stuff.


#3

I’m a fan of martial arts but I don’t ever pony up for UFC ppv events. It is very interesting to me overall and I’m very curious to see how Askren does.

I’ve gone up against some pretty solid and pretty damn big wrestlers on the jiu jitsu mats. I beat them with jiu jitsu except for the very first wrestler I went against when I was still a no-stripe white belt. That said, this is within the scope of a friendly jiu jitsu match where we aren’t punching and elbowing each other in the head. I’d beat these guys buy dealing with their top pressure and letting them gas out, then going for a sweep/escape, getting a good position and then submitting. But that’s a polite roll where the goal is a submission, not a fight, and I’ve yet to roll with someone who wrestled above the D2 level.

Iv’e also fought for real a fair bit, or at least more than most. I got paid for that, and because of my local bouncing chops and ability to be polite and well-spoken, I now get paid really well to stand at the door of a really nice bar a couple of nights per month where I’ll probably never have to fight anyone. If you can avoid getting knocked out, put a person on the ground reliably, stay on top and keep them from doing the same to you, you’re going to win a lot of fights. That’s what makes wrestling such a devastating base of technique when the encounter is no longer polite.

Great takedowns, great takedown defense and whatever he does to hit his opponents while he’s controlling the position will be effective at all levels. I’m eager to see how he does. I don’t know a lot about fighting at really high levels but fighting is fighting.


#4

I usually find a stream or go to a bar showing them.

Askren is talking a crazy amount of shit and throwing some serious shade. Calling out GSP, Darrent Till and maybe even Khabib.

He has all those wrestling accolades. Which are tremendous accomplishments but Bellator is not the UFC and at this point it would be crazy to think they are equal and ONE fighting championship is a step down from Bellator.

So at 34 years of age can Askren beat the best the UFC has to offer. He isn’t going to go 170 lb thats where Woodley is at so that leaves 155 and 185. I don’t think he could hang with UFC’s 185lbs and 155 is a pretty serious cut for him.

I think him and Khabib would be an awesome match up though. Askren has the wrestling chops to deal with Khabib.


#5

Big DJ fan, and happy with the “trade”. I think ONE will suit him very well, and the Asian fans should love him.

I’ve heard rumors of Masvidal being a first fight for Askren. I’m fine with that. The road to a match up with Khabib, should be problematic, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the UFC got out the earth-movers to make it happen sometime. I’d rather they just do 165 “challenge” matches rather than create a whole new division that will have to be tended (that was my preference for the DJ v Dillashaw matchup - a catch weight bout at 130 that would leave the divisions unscathed).

FWIW, I buy a UFC PPV probably once a year (Khabib v Conor was this year’s buy.) But I consume a ton of MMA media. Truth told, I probably watch more grappling and “read” more MMA.


#6

I’m really hoping to see him go up against someone with really good jiu jitsu and take the match right to the mat. Since taking up grappling I’ve really gained an appreciation for wrestling as a fighting art that I never really had before. Those guys are really tough to handle and Askren is as good as it gets.

I also remember listening to a podcast with Askren where he criticized common jiu jitsu training methods and found myself nodding along. He’s right about how five minute rounds are kind of arbitrary. We use them to keep people moving from one roll to the next in class, but during open mat/open training we usually run with the timer off and go until one quits. He also had something to say about getting more repetitions in, and that’s something I like seeing more of too.

But yeah, I’ll be following along to see what he does. UFC is a big step up from Bellator. I’ve trained with a dude from Bellator before and he was definitely a beast, but I know more than a couple of people that don’t compete in MMA who would have his number if you put them in a ring together.

UFC is as legit as it gets, although I’d like to see them fighting without gloves. Closer to Vale Tudo rules but maybe a little more regard for fighter safety. People like to see knockouts too much, so it would never happen!


#7

Yeah Askren approaches BJJ like wrestling. Ceaseless drilling and repetitions. Engraining movements to the point where they become instinctual.

I think he mentioned how people hate drilling everyone just wants to roll live thats the fun stuff. Problem is you never get to work on technique you only hit moves you are good at and then you are a one dimensional grappler. The instructor at the gym I was at was very adamant on putting people in specific scenarios and and only given you one tool to work with. Always said I putting you guys inside of a very tiny box I know its hard and I know your gonna get your ass kicked but its so you develop these skills. Took me a couple months to appreciate that. He would get angry if you didn’t exclusively stay within the boundaries he gave you.


#8

I think there’s a lot of value in that. Plenty of schools try to fit too many techniques into a class, sometimes completely unrelated stuff too. Here’s worm guard. Now let’s move on to a back control escape. Here’s this cool sweep I saw on youtube, now let’s roll guys!

My instructor always teaches sequences, usually beginning from the feet. For the last five times I’ve trained with him we’ve mostly been working on framing concepts, then he makes me put them into practice during short rolls. Sometimes he gives me pathways to walk. Take me down, pass the guard, take mount, take the back, fight the grips, finish with the choke. The key there is I have to take the back, which is different from receiving it when someone gives it to you. That’s the box I need to stay in and he rolls in a way that he won’t let me go anywhere else.

I’ve come to appreciate the importance of good lineage and traditions, good instruction and always having a purpose in mind when training. Plus both of the schools I train at teach wrestling takedowns the way the learned from wrestlers, which is something early BJJ in America didn’t always get right.


#9

He could make 155lbs. He just needs a better diet to get his body composition leaner. Then he should be able to make the cut.


#10

I don’t know man. Ben is just one of those skinny fat guys. He wrestled at 174 in college. I am not saying he can’t but how likely is it he could actually make that weight and would his performance be impaired.

I would love to see if his grappling skillset could neutralize Khabibs. I think it can.


#11

As someone who has achieved a Derrick Lewis physique, I’d like to make the peak performance argument too. Plus you cannot overlook the importance of Popeye’s chicken, cheeseburgers and beer in the recovery process.


#12

Do you eat ass too. Apparently Derrick Lewis is all about eating his wife’s ass before a fight.

I like DC and I think he is a great representative of the sport and all around role model but man I think I actually might want DL to take this one. If simply just for the post fight interview with him and Rogan.


#13

I like 'em both, should be a good fight. I think Buffalo Wild Wings across town will have it, but every time I go there I seem to end up with a bill that’s bigger than it would be to order it PPV.


#14

Welcoming Askren to the UFC is … Robbie Lawler!