Ben Askren has just signed a deal with ONE FC, an MMA promotion based in Asia. For now, this means that Askren will not be joining the UFC, to the delight of one UFC President. Dana White has been adamant about Ben Askren not joining the UFC just yet. The boss has cited everything from his lack of experience against top opponents, to his close decision win over Jay Heiron, to wanting Askren to go to WSOF and establish himself there first. Here are the reasons why what Dana White is saying is in no way the reason why the UFC doesn’t want Askren in their promotion, and some of the real reasons the UFC is afraid of the curly-haired wrestler.
Why The UFC Should Want Ben Askren
Askren Is UFC Worthy
If you want to argue this point, then please leave the room. There are very few people that have no prior experience in the UFC that have a better record than Askren. If I removed Askren’s name and told you that the UFC isn’t interested in a fighter with these accomplishments, you would be scratching your head as to why:
- 4 Time All American NCAA Division I wrestler, perfect 12-0 MMA record
- Held welterweight championship in the next biggest promotion to the UFC
- Dominated each competitor to his title, other than a close decision win against a former UFC fighter
- Rated by some websites as a Top 10 welterweight.
Would these accomplishments not be enough for a fighter to get a UFC contract? If I’m Joe Silva, I’d be snatching this guy up in a heartbeat.
Current Welterweight Roster
Way lesser have been given a try in the UFC, so as far as credentials, Askren has those more than covered. Anyone who argues that point must realize the UFC has over 70 welterweights, and that Askren has accomplished more than half of the welterweights on the UFC roster without stepping foot inside of the octagon. After a quick search through the welterweight division, I’ve pulled out a few of the fighters that Askren could easily replace.
- Yoshihiro Akiyama (0-4 in last 4 fights. Lost Welterweight debut)
- Nick Catone (9-4 MMA record. Lost 4 of last 6 UFC fights)
- Neil Magny (8-4 MMA record. Lost 2 of 3 UFC fights)
- Anthony Lapsley (25-6 MMA record. Lost debut fight by decision after landing 8 strikes while getting no takedowns, getting taken down himself 4 times)
- Dan Miller (14-7 MMA record. Lost 3 of last 4 UFC fights)
- Manuel Rodriguez (10-4 MMA record. Lost UFC debut by 1st Round KO)
The welterweight division is huge! Why the UFC cannot fit Ben Askren into the division with the most fighters is crazy, especially considering that the UFC fighters listed above have UFC contracts. If those fighters are still UFC worthy, then the UFC can find a spot for Ben Askren.
Ben Askren Has A Fan Base
Whether you love him or hate him, Ben Askren is a well known fighter. He is on all the major MMA news sites, and he is a hot topic in MMA right now. If Askren was not a well known fighter, then Dana White wouldn’t bother answering questions about him, and you would never hear the name Ben Askren come out of Dana’s mouth. Askren also has a solid following on Twitter, with 26,065 followers. Only one UFC Welterweight in the Top 10 of the division has less followers, Robbie Lawler (16,978), than Askren, though these fighters have all been on major PPV’s, as well half of the division has fought for a title in the UFC. Askren’s ability to get under people’s skin has increased his following, and it would be wise for the UFC to bring in a guy who is established, well known and could possibly bring wrestling fan base to the sport.
Why The UFC Doesn’t Want Ben Askren
Former Bellator Champion
Dana White is not a fan of Bellator MMA. He has made that substantially clear, and he is not a fan of pretty much anything associated with Bellator. Ben Askren was the most dominate welterweight champion in Bellator history, and one of their most decorated fighters as well. If the Bellator welterweight champion comes into the UFC, becomes a top 5 fighter and somehow wins the UFC championship, what does that mean about the UFC? How embarrassed would the UFC be if the top guy in Bellator came over to their company and won the title? Bjorn Rebney would have permanent bragging rights, saying that Bellator has the better welterweight division in the world, and that their fighters can easily move over to the UFC and dominate the divisions, like the WEC guys did in the lightweight division. Would Askren clean house in the welterweight division? Well, maybe not, but he if he had a chance to, he could, but that’s not something that Dana would want to risk in the least.
Askren’s Boring Style Of Fighting
Ben Askren’s style of fighting can be described by some as a beautiful display of pure grappling superiority. The moves that Askren pulls on some fighters are the exact reason why Askren has the nickname Funky. His throws and sweeps are extremely inventive, and any grappling practitioner or admirer of the ground game can watch Askren’s performances and be thoroughly entertained. Unfortunately, the majority of the UFC’s audience are not these type of people. Just like in the early days of MMA with jiu-jitsu, many MMA fans have yet to appreciate the difficulty, as well as the technical beauty of grappling. Dana White does not want to see Askren come into the UFC and put on, what many UFC fans would refer to as, a very boring fight. If Askren starts moving up the ranks of the division, the last thing Dana would want to see in the co-main event of a televised broadcast is Askren smothering one of his top guys for 15 minutes, while the fans rain down boos. That is not how the UFC is going to attract viewers. Dana runs the UFC like a business, and right now, Askren is one of the best welterweights in the world, but not good for the UFC business.