Ben Askren is a former professional MMA fighter and amateur wrestler from the United States. Before competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Askren was the Bellator and ONE Welterweight Champion, going undefeated for over a decade.
Benjamin Michael Askren was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 18, 1984.
Askren was introduced to wrestling by his father Chuck when he was six years old, but he didn’t take it seriously until he entered sixth grade and joined a club. He was a two–time WIAA state champion out of Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin during his high school career. Nationally, he finished on the podium in folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco-Roman competitions.
He was a two-time NCAA Division 1 national champion at the University of Missouri. He won gold medals at the 2005 Pan American Championship, the 2008 US National Championship, and the 2009 World Championship at the time of his non-professional career.
He was a two–time NCAA Division I national champion (four–time finalist) and a member of the United States Olympic Team and National Champion in freestyle wrestling in 2008. For the Missouri Tigers, he was a two–time Big 12 Conference champion (four–time finalist) and the second wrestler to win multiple Dan Hodge Trophies (the wrestling equivalent of the Heisman Trophy) in folkstyle wrestling. He was also a submission wrestling world champion.
Despite his decision to pursue a career in MMA after the Olympics, Askren continued to compete in wrestling occasionally. In 2010, he defeated Fundora in the semifinals of the Cerro Pelado International in Cuba to avenge his Olympic defeat. This happened not long after Askren won the Dave Schultz Memorial International.
Later that year, at the Midlands Tournament, Askren defeated 2009 world silver medalist Jake Herbert in a folkstyle rules match. Askren competed in the Agon Wrestling Championships as well as the Flo Premier League. In the annual Beat the Streets benefit event in May 2019, Askren was defeated by five–time World and Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs due to technical superiority.
Early MMA career
On February 7, 2009, Askren made his professional MMA debut. Headhunter Productions hosted it at the Holiday Inn Select Executive Center in Columbia, Missouri. He knocked out Josh Flowers in the first round with a TKO.
Askren fought for the second time at Patriot Act 2 in Columbia, Missouri. He defeated Mitchell Harris by arm triangle submission.
Bellator Fighting Championships
Askren competed in the Season 2 Welterweight Tournament of Bellator Fighting Championships. On April 15, 2010, Askren defeated Ryan Thomas via technical submission in his first fight at Bellator 14. The fight’s outcome was contentious because Thomas protested the stoppage as soon as Askren released the choke.
At Bellator 22, Askren won a unanimous decision over Dan Hornbuckle, dominating Hornbuckle for all three rounds and becoming the Bellator Season Two Welterweight Tournament Champion.
On October 21, 2010, Askren faced off against Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good in Philadelphia. Despite being hit with a brutal upkick and nearly being caught in a triangle choke with one minute remaining, he was able to take down and control Good in every round. Askren won the Bellator Welterweight Championship by unanimous decision.
At Bellator 56, Askren successfully defended his title against season 4 welterweight tournament winner Jay Hieron, winning a close split decision.
On Good Friday, April 6, 2012, Askren successfully defended his title against season 5 welterweight tournament winner Douglas Lima at Bellator 64 at the Caesars in Windsor, Canada.
Following a period of negotiations, Bellator announced on November 14, 2013 that Askren had been released from the company.
Askren signed a two-year/six-fight contract with ONE Championship on December 9, 2013.
In the main event of ONE FC: Honor and Glory on May 30, Askren faced Bakhtiyar Abbasov, who was on a nine-fight winning streak. In the first round, Askren won by submission (arm-triangle choke).
During his term in ONE Championship he fought many MMA fighters including Nobutatsu Suzuki, Luis Santos, Nikolay Aleksakhin, Shinya Aoki among others.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
The UFC announced on November 3, 2018, that it had signed Askren under the “trade UFC and One Championship agreement” in exchange for former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson.
On March 2, 2019, at UFC 235, Askren made his UFC debut against former UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler. Askren won the fight in the first round with a bulldog choke, thanks to a controversial stoppage by referee Herb Dean.
On July 6, 2019, at UFC 239, Askren faced long–time veteran Jorge Masvidal. He was knocked out with a flying knee five seconds into the first round, the fastest knockout in UFC history, effectively ending his undefeated streak.
On October 26, 2019, at UFC on ESPN+ 20, Askren faced ADCC World Champion and MMA veteran Demian Maia and lost via technical submission in round three. This fight earned him the title of Fight of the Night.
Askren announced his retirement from mixed martial arts competition on November 18, 2019.
Ben Askren vs Jake Paul
Askren fought YouTube personality Jake Paul in a boxing match on April 17, 2021, losing by TKO after a back-and-forth on social media. However, fans and fellow MMA fighters questioned the match’s legitimacy.
According to Triller, the match generated at least 1.45 million pay-per-view purchases, though the legitimacy of the figures has been heavily questioned by multiple personalities, including UFC president Dana White.
He enjoys disc golf and competes in it. Askren finished ninth in the Amateur World Championships in 2009. He is also an investor in cryptocurrencies.
Askren co-hosts several weekly wrestling podcasts, including ‘FloWrestling Radio Live’ with Christian Pyles on FloWrestling, ‘The Funky & FRB Show’ with Front Row Brian on Rokfin, and ‘The T-Row & Funky Show’ with two-time NCAA champion Tommy Rowlands on Rokfin.
|Ben Askren Record|
|22 matches||19 wins||2 losses|
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