Ben Askren is undefeated. He’s never lost a fight in his MMA career and the closest he came to defeat was a 2011 split decision win against Jay Hieron. Askren has hardly been tested in Bellator. He’s dominated his fights with smothering wrestling and top control. However, because his style isn’t casual-fan friendly, detractors call him boring. I disagree. There’s a beauty to the takedown and Askren has the best in Bellator. Power doubles are complemented with sneaky singles and trips. He mixes them in flawlessly and constantly confuses his opponents.
Once he gets his opponent to the ground, Askren employs a phenomenal positioning game. His top control is fantastic and he almost always is in a dominant position. Even though he doesn’t finish as many opponents as fans want, he doesn’t just lay around and hug people. He’s constantly working and has a very good gas tank.
So this leads us to the UFC. Recently, Askren has said that he, not current no. 1 contender Johny Hendricks is the man to defeat current Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. Whoaaaaaaaa. Let’s hold on a second. Perhaps this could happen in a couple years, not anytime in the near future. However, Askren definitely has the chops to beat some top 10 welterweights.
Hopefully Askren will be in the UFC within six months. Since he’s not Gilbert Melendez, I don’t think he’s going to get an immediate title shot or even a no. 1 contender’s match. So if the Condits/Hendricks’/McDonalds/Maias are all near the very top of the division, who’s left?
My preference would be Josh Koscheck. Both men are NCAA All-American wrestlers, but I think the X-factor would be Koscheck’s striking game. Right now, we haven’t seen what Askren can do with his hands and feet. There’s a huge difference between hammerfisting a guy from half guard and throwing in the pocket across from a guy who can knock your head off.
Basically, I want to see Askren challenged. He’s a great fighter, though not without his shortcomings. He’s only 29, so he’s still got a little time to develop some more competent standup. Without a better striking game, the top UFC welterweights will turn him into a corpse.
But if he can start throwing a solid 1-2 combo and diversifying his skills, there’s a possibility that he might be the man to beat GSP.
Andrew Jerrick (andrewjerrick.wordpress.com)
Profightingfans.com Staff Writer