Askren: 'I'm going to stick with my guns'

by Steven Marrocco and Matt Erickson | source:

Bellator champion Ben Askren is one of the best American wrestlers to ever enter MMA. But the 2008 Olympian, two time Div I NCAA Champion, and two time Hodge Trophy winner, is not a fan favorite, as he relies on wrestling to win, not KOs and submissions.

The great irony in MMA is that wrestling is the best base for the sport, but is the least appreciated aspect of the game.

In an extended interview with MMMJunkie, Askren reflects.

"When I won a Bellator tournament, I was only a year and four months into my fighting career, maybe," said Askren. "My outlook was, OK, now I get all this time to actually get good at this."

"I've been with Duke for one year now. I'm not under the delusion that I'm going to become a world-class striker in a year. That's crazy. If anybody thinks they can actually do that, they're an idiot.

"If you read a lot of the psychology research, they say to become a world-class competitor in something, it takes 10 years, roughly. So, I haven't got 10 years. I'll be plenty well retired from fighting by the time I hit 10 years in fighting."

"I don't expect (the fans) to appreciate (wrestling). I would say the majority of MMA fans don't have a great technical knowledge base, and really, what they want to see is people snapping arms, or people knocking people out. There's no appreciation for the finer points of jiu-jitsu or wrestling. But I'm OK with that. It's not like I feel the need to change it or think I actually can."

"Most people aren't very good at MMA. I look at it from the perspective that I'm ranked, whatever, ninth to 15th in the world right now (in MMA). In wrestling, if I were to wrestle today, I probably wouldn't be in the top-50. But I'm a way better pure wrestler than an MMA fighter."

"It's more about making me the best mixed martial artist I can be, as opposed to trying to gameplan. I'm three years into my fighting career. Why am I going to be gameplanning for somebody? I need to be good.

"Am I going out there looking for the knockout ever? Probably not. I doubt I'll ever do that. I'm smart enough to stick with what I do well. I know I wrestle and use my offensive jiu-jitsu better than almost anyone in MMA. So I'm going to stick to my guns."

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tags: Bellator   Ben Askren   


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Recent Comments »

BshMstr site profile image  

9/6/12 7:20 PM by BshMstr

re: Askren's comment to master something taking 10 years...well, that's wrong. the estimate is 10,000 hours of training.... yeah, it's a while, but he's still wrong (and needs to re-read Outliers by Gladwell).

slowandweak site profile image  

9/6/12 10:33 AM by slowandweak

Don't Funk with good ole Americana wrasslin! I think its amazing that he can dominate a person the whole fight and keep his opponent from doing anything. Do you know what his opponents must feel like...helpless!

8flat site profile image  

9/6/12 10:00 AM by 8flat


Titanium Rhino site profile image  

9/6/12 9:53 AM by Titanium Rhino

This guy has the balls to call GSP boring on several occasions. Just looking at him makes me sleepy. Watching him fight is like taking an entire 2mg xanax bar.

Sudo21 site profile image  

9/6/12 4:16 AM by Sudo21

Askren is great, he isn't KO'ing people but his wrestling, scrambles and transtions are great to watch.Just watch his fight with Lima and how he moves, changes positions and takes top position.

dermotfix site profile image  

9/6/12 1:59 AM by dermotfix

Ben "I'm a lover not a fighter" Askren. You need to get your ass to Team Serra and get Weidman'd out asap. Then you need to go give GSP a taste of his own medicine.

Nexuscrawlers site profile image  

9/5/12 9:46 PM by Nexuscrawlers

That's true. There's a lot of factors.

UGCTT_buchu8oolong site profile image  

9/5/12 9:34 PM by UGCTT_buchu8oolong

The whole problem here is that much less decorated wrestlers have developed the tools to make them dangerous in other areas or at least used their base for GnP. The trail has already been blazed a long damn time ago and fans are supposed to pretend they haven't seen that?

Haulport site profile image  

9/5/12 9:26 PM by Haulport

That's hard because their ratings are a complete cluster fuck. The timing is horrible and they really lost a lot of momentum on that stupid MTV2. They don't have a good baseline for me to feel comfortable in that bit of evidence. once they are on SPIKE we'll really find out.

ChaosOverkill site profile image  

9/5/12 9:24 PM by ChaosOverkill

 Guns hurt people, Ben does not.