mixed martial arts news
Written by Hurtsbad MMA Analyst Ryne Krafthefer
Hurtsbad recently spoke with Bellator Welterweight champion Ben Askren on his upcoming title defense against Douglas Lima. Askren is a former amateur wrestler for the University of Missouri and the U.S. Olympic team. Ben is currently undefeated in his MMA career, having won nine consecutive bouts, six of those coming under the Bellator banner. However, the former NCAA wrestling champion faces a stern test in his next opponent Douglas Lima.
A winner of his last nine fights, Lima, has shown impressive stand up in his recent victories over Ben Saunders and Chris Lozano. Not known for his striking ability, Askren spoke about his recent move to Roufusport Gym, known for its stable of impressive stand up fighters, “Training has been awesome, the coaches and fighters there are awesome so everything is going good. I’ve been doing a lot of sparring, which is normal for the gym but yeah I’ve been sparring every single day. I’ve also been doing some work on my jiu-jitsu and wrestling.”
Lima is a tough fighter who is known for finishing fights. However, his cardio and grappling defense has come into question in the past. When asked what he believes will be his best asset come fight night, the Bellator 170 lb champion had this to say, “I would have to say my pure wrestling ability, hands down.”
In Askren’s last bout he faced MMA Journeyman Jay Hieron, defeating him via split decision. Askren was disappointed with his performance, looking back on the fight the champion had this to say, “I would have thrown more combinations. I would do a lot more sparring, and strength training leading up to the fight.”
Few fighters start can match the early success that Askren has had in his career. If the Bellator champion continues to pile up victories, one has to wonder if he will look to move up or down in weight, to challenge for another championship. When asked if he looks to change weightclasses down the road, Ben said this, “I think 170 is the weightclass for me, I don’t even think I can make 155, and I have no intention of moving up to 185.”
Askren has a natural wrestling ability that few men can match, pair that with his impressive cardio and fast improving striking, and there is no reason why Ben can’t continue to be a champion for a long time to come. Hurtsbad asked the champion what he would like to achieve in 2012 and where he would like to be by the end of the year. “I’m ready for whatever Bellator has to provide me with. Obviously I’m focused on this next fight and winning but yeah I’m anxious to see whatever Bellator has to provide me with this year.”
One thing for sure is that Askren is a phenomenal fighter that will likely continue to have success in Bellator. The sky is the limit as he can only improve his striking and jiu-jitsu to match his world class wrestling ability. Hurtsbad would like to thank Ben for the opportunity of speaking with him and we wish him good health heading into his next bout.