Ben Askren is an American former professional mixed martial artist. He was also an amateur wrestler and a professional boxer.
Askren is noted for being a former One Welterweight Champion and Bellator champion. He also played for the UFC.
He is also a grappler and a part of the 2008 US Olympic Team.
Ben had a great college career. He played for the Missouri Tigers and he was a two-time NCAA Division I national champion. He was also a two-time Big 12 Conference champion.
Askren was born Benjamin Michael Askren on July 18, 1984. He stands 5 feet 10 inches tall or 178 cm. He plays in the welterweight division but he has also played middleweight. He has an impressive reach of 183 cm or 72 inches.
Ben started playing the sport as a six-year-old when he was introduced to it by his dad, Chuck. He began to take the sport seriously when he began sixth grade and during high school.
High School Career
While attending the Arrowhead High School, Askren became the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Champion twice. He also made it to the podium of several US National Tournaments for Folkstyle, Greco-Roman, and Freestyle Wrestling.
University of Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame
He attended the University of Missouri where he played for the Missouri Tigers. He was teammates with future UFC champion Tyron Woodley and Bellator champion Michael Chandler.
As a freshman and a sophomore, Ben placed second in the Big 12 and NCAA championships. He lost the championship matches to Chris Pendleton who was playing for Oklahoma State.
In his junior and senior years, Askren won the Dan Hodge Trophy multiple times. He had an 87-0 record and he managed to take down several other NCAA champions such as Keith Gavin and Jake Herbert.
By the time he graduated, he had a record of 153-8.
In 2012, it was announced that the University of Missouri would be inducting Askren into their Athletics Hall of Fame.
Askren is known for his unorthodox fighting style that gained him the nickname, “Funky”. He also has an uncommon body style for a wrestler that helped him gain the upper hand when it came to pinning an opponent down.
He started with Folkstyle techniques but quickly adapted to freestyle wrestling.
2008 Summer Olympics
After he won the 2007 US National Championship, Askren made it to the US Olympic team for the 2008 games.
He made it to the quarterfinals before he was eventually defeated by Ivan Fundora from Hungary. Askren went away without a medal for the 2008 Olympics.
Post Olympics, he would go on to defeat Fundora when the two met at the Cerro Pelado International in Cuba in 2010.
Early Martial Arts Career
Ben debuted as a professional MMA payer in February 2009.
He played in a game by Headhunter Productions and defeated Josh Flowers. He would later go on to fight and win over Mitchell Harris.
He also competed in grappling events including the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship and the 2009 FILA World Grappling Championship.
Askren began competing in the Bellator Fighting Championship in their second season. He was in the Welterweight Division. His first fight was with Ryan Thomas. A re-match would later be allowed but Askren would win that one again.
He would become the Bellator Season Two Welterweight Tournament Champion in 2010. He would return for Bellator 40 where he won against Nick Thompson.
He would successfully defend his Bellator title several more times in Bellator 56, Bellator 86, and Bellator 97. Bellator released him from his contract in November 2013.
In December 2013, he signed a two-year contract with ONE Championship.
For his first fight, he won against Nobutatsu Suzuki. He would later face and win over Luis Santos. Askren would go on to defend his title with several other fighters including Agilan Thani and Nikolay Aleksakhin.
He retired from ONE Championship in 2017, following a win over Shinya Aoki.
UFC and MMA Retirement
Askren moved on to the UFC in a trade between ONE Championship where Askren was “traded for” Demetrious Johnson.
His first fight in the UFC was against Robbie Lawler. He would go on to win that fight in a controversial decision. Askren would then go on to fight and lose to Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia.
In November 2019, Ben Askren announced that he was retiring from the professional MMA.
Jake Paul Bout
Askren fought and lost to YouTuber Jake Paul in a boxing match that was held on April 17, 2021. The legitimacy of the match was questioned by some personalities including Dana White, the UFC president.
- Freestyle Wrestling – 2005-2010,2013-2015, 2009
- Mixed Martial Arts – 20090-2019
- Boxing – 2021
Mixed Martial Arts Record:
By knockout: 6
By submission: 6
By decision: 7
By knockout: 1
By submission: 1
No contests: 1
Professional Boxing Record:
Representing the United States of America
- 2005 – Pan American Championships -Freestyle Wrestling, Gold
- 2008 – US National Championships -Freestyle Wrestling, Gold
- 2009 – World Championships - Men’sGrappling, Gold
- 2004 – St Louis, Silver
- 2005 – St Louis, Gold
- 2006 – Oklahoma City, 2006
- 2007 – Auburn Hills, 2006
Big 12 Championships
- 2004 – Ames, Silver
- 2005 – Omaha, Silver
- 2006 – Ames, Gold
- 2007 – Columbia, Gold