Ben Askren

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Ben Askren
Born (1984-07-18) July 18, 1984 (age 32)
Hartland, Wisconsin, United States
Other names Funky
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Division Welterweight
Reach 71 in (180 cm)
Fighting out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Team Roufusport
Evolve MMA
Rank brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Wrestling NCAA Division I Wrestling
Olympic Freestyle Wrestling
Years active 2009–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 16
Wins 15
By knockout 4
By submission 4
By decision 7
Losses 0
No contests 1
Other information
University University of Missouri
Notable relatives Max Askren, Brother
Notable club(s) Sunkist Kids
Notable school(s) Arrowhead High School
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Ben Askren
Medal record
Representing  United States
Men's freestyle wrestling
Pan American Championships
Gold medal – first place 2005 Guatemala City -84 kg
United States Championships
Gold medal – first place 2008 Las Vegas -84 kg
Men's grappling
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2009 Fort Lauderdale -84 kg (No-Gi)

Ben Askren (born July 18, 1984) is an American former amateur wrestler for the University of Missouri and U.S. Olympic team. He is now a grappler, mixed martial artist, and the former Bellator Welterweight Champion and the current ONE Welterweight Champion known for his effective wrestling . He is currently ranked as the #7 welterweight in the world by Fight!Magazine[2] and as the #10 welterweight by Sherdog.[3]


Askren was an assistant wrestling coach at Arizona State University and was an American amateur wrestler for the University of Missouri. He is a two-time state champion in wrestling at Arrowhead High School in Hartland, Wisconsin.[4]

Collegiate wrestling[edit]

In college, he wrestled in the 174 lb. weight class. He lost the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship match to Chris Pendleton in both 2004 and 2005 before winning it in 2006 and 2007. He is known for his pinning ability (he holds the single-season NCAA pin record); his massive afro, and his "funky", or unorthodox, wrestling style. For example, while being ridden in the 2005 championship match, he attempted to reach around and apply a headlock to Pendleton, a move that any wrestling coach would disavow. His tall, lanky body — in sharp contrast to the squat, muscular physiques of many top wrestlers — allows him to attempt moves that most wrestlers could not. This characteristic later led to a challenging transition to freestyle wrestling early in his career, as the freestyle rules differ from folkstyle wrestling and penalize a wrestler for exposing his back. His younger brother Max also wrestled for Missouri and won a national championship in 2010.[5]

Askren had a dominant Junior season in 2005–06, winning all 45 of the matches he wrestled, pinning in 25 of those matches.[6] He won the 174 pound weight class easily at both the Big 12 and NCAA Championships. He won his Big 12 finals match 17–6 over Jacob Klein of Nebraska and his NCAA finals match 14–2 over future two time NCAA champion, Dan Hodge Trophy winner, and World silver medalist Jake Herbert of Northwestern. Herbert was also undefeated going into the NCAA finals. Askren's season earned him the Outstanding Wrestler award at the NCAA Championships as well as the Dan Hodge Trophy and the Rev Wrestler of the Year. [7]

Askren continued that dominance going into his Senior year in 2006–07, going undefeated again with a record of 42–0. [8] He won his second consecutive NCAA Championship at 174 pounds by defeating yet another future NCAA champion, second-ranked Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh, 8–2. Askren finished his collegiate career with an 87 match winning streak. He also became only the second person ever to win the Dan Hodge Trophy twice, as W.I.N. Magazine named the 2007 winner. Askren was also again named the Rev Wrestler of the Year. Additionally, he also received the Schalles Award, named after Wade Schalles and given to the most prolific pinner at the end of each season. [9]

Askren finished his collegiate wrestling career with a record of 153–8, with 91 of those victories coming by way of fall.[citation needed] Those 91 pins put him at third on the all-time NCAA Division I pins list. In his four-year career at Missouri, Askren only lost to two opponents, Chris Pendleton of Oklahoma St. and Ryan Lange of Purdue. He was also a four-time All-American, including being only the twelfth Division I wrestler ever to be a four-time finalist. Askren was also nominated for an ESPY in 2007 in the category Best Male College Athlete. On January 9, 2012 it was announced that Askren would be one of six new inductees to the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.[10]

2008 Olympics[edit]

For more about wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics, see Wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

In the summer of 2008, Askren defeated national runner-up Tyrone Lewis in two consecutive matches by decision at the US Olympic Trials in Las Vegas, becoming the second University of Missouri wrestler to qualify for the Olympics. Sammie Henson, who also attended Missouri but finished his college wrestling career at Clemson, competed in the 2000 Olympics winning a silver medal. Askren competed in the 74 kg. weight class at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Askren won his first match via pin against Hungarian István Veréb. In his round of 8 match he lost to Cuba's Ivan Fundora 1–3 0–4. The Cuban's loss to Russia's Buvaisar Saitiev in the quarterfinal round ended Askren's hopes of a medal at the 2008 Games.

Askren was asked if inexperience was a factor. Though he was a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Missouri he was relatively new to freestyle after wrestling folkstyle in college. "That wasn't it," he said with tears in his eyes, "I just wasn't good enough. I sucked." [11]

Olympic Games Matches[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Score Date Event Location Notes
Loss 1-1 Cuba Ivan Fundora 1-3, 0-4 2008-08-12 2008 Olympic Games China Beijing, China
Win 1-0 Hungary István Veréb Fall 2008-08-12 2008 Olympic Games China Beijing, China

Post Olympic Career[edit]

Although Askren decided to pursue a career in MMA after the Olympics, he still has occasionally continued to compete in wrestling. In 2010 Askren avenged his Olympic loss by defeating Fundora in the semifinals of the Cerro Pelado International, in Cuba. This came shortly after Askren won the Dave Schultz Memorial International. Later this same year Askren defeated 2009 world silver medalist Jake Herbert in a folkstyle rules match at the Midlands Tournament. Askren has also competed in recent years in the Agon Wrestling Championships and the Flo Premier League,

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Askren is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In December 2008, he went to Coconut Creek, FL to train at American Top Team main school where many top fighters train. He currently[when?] trains at Roufusport in Milwaukee, where he is the wrestling coach.[citation needed]

Early career[edit]

Askren made his professional MMA debut on February 7, 2009.[12] It was held by Headhunter Productions at the Holiday Inn Select Executive Center in Columbia, Missouri. He defeated Josh Flowers via TKO early in the first round.[13]

Askren had his second fight at Patriot Act 2 in Columbia, Missouri. He defeated Mitchell Harris via submission by arm triangle. The fight was at a catchweight of 175 pounds.[14]


Asken competed at the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship from September 26—27, in Barcelona, Spain. He won his first match against Toni Linden by arm triangle choke. He lost his second match to Pablo Popovitch, a veteran grappler he had trained with the previous summer, by figure four footlock early in the match. Popovitch went on to win the championship in the under 77 kg (169 lb) division.[15]

Askren also competed at the 2009 FILA 2° World Grappling Championship. Askren faced the 2008 World Champion, Jacob Volkmann, in the 84 kg no-gi division. Askren out-wrestled Volkmann and won gold in the category.[16]

Bellator Fighting Championships[edit]

Askren was a participant in Bellator Fighting Championships Season 2 Welterweight Tournament.[17] In his first fight, Askren defeated Ryan Thomas via technical submission at Bellator 14 on April 15, 2010. The outcome of the fight was controversial because Thomas protested the stoppage as soon as Askren released the choke.[18]

After Jim Wallhead was pulled from the tournament, Thomas was given another chance to compete. Thomas defeated Jacob McClintock by TKO in the first round at Bellator 15 and was awarded a rematch with Askren. When the two fought at Bellator 19, Askren came out victorious again with a unanimous 30–27 decision after controlling Thomas with wrestling for three rounds.[19]

At Bellator 22, Askren defeated Dan Hornbuckle via unanimous decision with his superior wrestling dominating Hornbuckle for all three rounds, becoming the Bellator Season Two Welterweight Tournament Champion.[20]

On October 21, 2010 in Philadelphia Askren took on the Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good. Despite being hit with a brutal upkick and almost getting caught in a triangle choke with one minute left, he was able to take down and control Good in every round. Askren won via unanimous decision to win the Bellator Welterweight Championship.[21]

Askren next returned at Bellator 40 to fight and defeat Nick Thompson after taking down and controlling Thompson for all three rounds. Although Askren started off quickly in the third round with a spinning back fist and several other strikes, he was caught with an overhand right by Thompson, causing Askren to take down and control Thompson for the remainder of the round. Askren went on to win by unanimous decision with the scores 30–26, 30–27, and 30–27.[22]

Following his unanimous decision win over Thompson in a non-title affair at Bellator 40 in Newkirk, Oklahoma, Askren revealed that he will relocate to Milwaukee in the near future to train under Duke Roufus at Roufusport.[23]

Askren successfully defended his title against season 4 welterweight tournament winner Jay Hieron at Bellator 56.[24] following a close split decision.

Askren successfully defended his title against season 5 welterweight tournament winner Douglas Lima at Bellator 64 on April 6, 2012 on Good Friday at the Caesars in Windsor, Canada.[25]

Next for Askren was a title defense against Karl Amoussou,[26] the fight taking place at Bellator 86 on January 24, 2013. Askren once again used his top control wrestling to shut down his opponents grappling, and opened a cut on Amoussou's forehead with an elbow strike. The doctor stepped in between the third and fourth rounds, judging the cut too severe for Amoussou to continue.[27]

In the final fight of his contract, Askren faced tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 97.[28] He dominated the fight with his wrestling and ground strikes, outstriking his opponent by a wide 248-to-3 margin before winning via TKO in the fourth round.[29]

On November 14, 2013, following a negotiation period, Bellator announced they had released Askren from any further negotiations with the company, and that he was now an unrestricted free agent.[30]

ONE Championship[edit]

On December 9, 2013, Askren signed a 2 year/6 fight contract with ONE Championship.[31]

Askren met Bakhtiyar Abbasov, who had been riding a nine-fight win streak, in the main event of ONE FC: Honor and Glory on May 30.[32] He won the fight via submission in the first round (arm triangle), and proceeded to call out ONE champion Nobutatsu Suzuki, stating "Suzuki is going to bring me my belt. He can put it in the middle of the cage and give it to me, or I can take it the hard way!”[33]

Askren faced Suzuki at ONE Fighting Championship: Reign of Champions on August 29, 2014. He won the fight via TKO due to strikes in the first round to become the new ONE Welterweight Champion.

Askren faced Luis Santos in the main event at ONE Championship: Valor of Champions April 24.[34] The fight was ruled "No Contest" after an accidental eye poke from Askren at 2:19 of round 1 rendered Sapo unable to continue.[35]

In the next fight Askren beat Russia's Nikolay Aleksakhin at the ONE Championship: Global Warriors on April 15, 2016 by unanimous decision.

Personal life[edit]

Askren is married.[36] Askren is also competitive in the sport of disc golf. In 2009, Askren finished 9th in the Amateur World Championships.[37] Askren is sponsored by Discraft. Ben and his brother Max opened up Askren Wrestling Academy (AWA) in 2011. Currently there are three locations in Hartland, WI, Mequon, WI and Green Bay, WI.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 15–0 (1) Nikolay Aleksakhin Decision (unanimous) ONE Championship: Global Warriors April 15, 2016 5 5:00 Pasay City, Philippines Non-title fight, Nikolay failed to make weight.
NC 14–0 (1) Luis Santos No Contest (eye poke) ONE Championship: Valor of Champions April 24, 2015 1 2:19 Pasay, Philippines Retained ONE Welterweight Championship.
Win 14–0 Nobutatsu Suzuki TKO (punches) ONE FC: Reign of Champions August 29, 2014 1 1:24 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Won ONE Welterweight Championship.
Win 13–0 Bakhtiyar Abbasov Submission (arm-triangle choke) ONE FC: Honor and Glory May 30, 2014 1 4:21 Kallang, Singapore
Win 12–0 Andrey Koreshkov TKO (punches) Bellator 97 July 31, 2013 4 2:58 Rio Rancho, New Mexico, United States Defended Bellator Welterweight Championship.
Win 11–0 Karl Amoussou TKO (doctor stoppage) Bellator 86 January 24, 2013 3 5:00 Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States Defended Bellator Welterweight Championship.
Win 10–0 Douglas Lima Decision (unanimous) Bellator 64 April 6, 2012 5 5:00 Windsor, Ontario, Canada Defended Bellator Welterweight Championship.
Win 9–0 Jay Hieron Decision (split) Bellator 56 October 29, 2011 5 5:00 Kansas City, Kansas, United States Defended Bellator Welterweight Championship.
Win 8–0 Nick Thompson Decision (unanimous) Bellator 40 April 9, 2011 3 5:00 Newkirk, Oklahoma, United States Non-title bout.
Win 7–0 Lyman Good Decision (unanimous) Bellator 33 October 21, 2010 5 5:00 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Won Bellator Welterweight Championship.
Win 6–0 Dan Hornbuckle Decision (unanimous) Bellator 22 June 17, 2010 3 5:00 Kansas City, Missouri, United States Bellator Season 2 Welterweight Tournament Final.
Win 5–0 Ryan Thomas Decision (unanimous) Bellator 19 May 20, 2010 3 5:00 Grand Prairie, Texas, United States Bellator Season 2 Welterweight Tournament Semifinal
Win 4–0 Ryan Thomas Technical Submission (Japanese necktie) Bellator 14 April 15, 2010 1 2:40 Chicago, Illinois, United States Bellator Season 2 Welterweight Tournament Quarterfinal.
Win 3–0 Matt Delanoit Submission (north/south choke) Max Fights DM: Ballroom Brawl August 28, 2009 1 1:15 Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Win 2–0 Mitchell Harris Submission (reverse arm-triangle choke) Headhunter Productions: The Patriot Act 2 April 25, 2009 1 1:27 Columbia, Missouri, United States 175 lb catchweight bout.
Win 1–0 Josh Flowers TKO (punches) Headhunter Productions: The Patriot Act February 7, 2009 1 1:25 Columbia, Missouri, United States

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "MMA Welterweight Rankings". Retrieved April 7, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings". Retrieved April 7, 2016. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Taking it to the Max". University of Missouri via website. April 16, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ben Askren Named 2006 Recipient of Dan Hodge Trophy". MU Tigers Athletics via website. March 27, 2006. 
  7. ^ "Askren Named 2006 Rev Wrestler of the Year". MU Tigers Athletics via website. March 23, 2006. 
  8. ^ "Ben Askren Repeats as National Champ, Tigers Finish Third". MU Tigers Athletics via website. March 17, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Missouri Wrestling Coach and Athlete Earn Honors". MU Tigers Athletics via website. May 14, 2007. 
  10. ^ "Six chosen for University of Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame". KTVO-TV via website. 2012-01-09. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  11. ^ "Askren's long wait for shot on Olympic mat ends in tears". ESPN via website. 
  12. ^ "Collegiate wrestling stand-out Ben Askren makes pro MMA debut Feb. 7". 2009-01-27. Archived from the original on 2009-03-08. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  13. ^ "MMA rookie and Olympian Ben Askren, UFC vet Din Thomas win in Missouri". 2009-02-08. Archived from the original on 2009-03-14. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  14. ^ "NCAA champ Ben Askren moves to 2–0 with weekend MMA win". 2009-04-27. Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  15. ^ SCHEDULE September 23, 2009 — sebastianvalle (2009-09-23). "ADCC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BARCELONA 2009". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  16. ^ International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles. "Championnat du Monde en Floride". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  17. ^ "Welterweight prospect Ben Askren announced as Bellator's newest signee". 2009-12-09. Archived from the original on 2010-02-08. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  18. ^ "Bellator 14 recap: Imada, Askren, Reis and Curran advance in tourney action". 2010-04-15. Archived from the original on 29 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  19. ^ "Bellator 19 recap: Soto stops Saraiva; Askren and Hornbuckle book finals date". 2010-05-20. Archived from the original on 29 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  20. ^ "Bellator 22 recap: Dan Hornbuckle can't stop the funk; Ben Askren claims tourney win". 2010-06-17. Archived from the original on 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  21. ^ "Ben Askren Beats Lyman Good for Bellator Welterweight Title". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  22. ^ "Bellator 40 Results: Ben Askren Dominates Nick Thompson Over Fifteen Minutes". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  23. ^ Breen, Jordan (2011-04-09). "Bellator Champ Askren Milwaukee-Bound, Set to Join Roufusport Camp". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  24. ^ Leidecker, Tim (2011-09-30). "10 October Tussles Worth Watching". Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  25. ^ "Ben Askren vs. Douglas Lima welterweight title bout set for Bellator 64 | MMA News". 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  26. ^ [1] Archived July 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ Whitman, Mike (2013-01-24). "BELLATOR 86 RESULTS: PLAY-BY-PLAY & UPDATES". Sherdog. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  28. ^ "Bellator 97 takes place on July 31st in New Mexico with Askren-Koreshkov and Lima-Saunders". The MMA Report. 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  29. ^ Thomas, Luke (July 31, 2013). "Bellator 97 results: Michael Chandler, Ben Askren cruise to easy title defenses". 
  30. ^ "Bellator releases welterweight champion Ben Askren". 2013-11-14. Archived from the original on 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  31. ^ "Undefeated Former Bellator Champion Ben Askren Signs with One FC". 
  32. ^ Chris Pagliuca (April 7, 2014). "Ben Askren to Make One FC Debut in May". Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  33. ^ Kevin Thang (May 30, 2014). "ONE FC 16: Honor & Glory Results: Ben Askren Submits Abbasov in Debut, Latoel Upsets Ng". Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Ben Askren vs Luis Santos at ONE: Valor of Champions". 
  35. ^ Jack Bratcher (April 24, 2015). "ONE: Valor of Champions full results; Askren retains title against veteran Santos due to No Contest". Retrieved April 24, 2015. 
  36. ^ "BEN ASKREN WINS BELLATOR WELTERWEIGHT TOURNEY". 2010-06-18. Retrieved 2010-08-19. [permanent dead link]
  37. ^ "2009 PDGA Amateur World Championships Resules". 

External links[edit]