Following his latest victory at Bellator 97 over Andrey Koreshkov, Ben “Funky” Askern’s three and a half year run as welterweight kingpin of the organization may have come to an end as revealed by CEO Bjorn Rebey. With the win Askren was not only able to keep his record unblemished (12-0 MMA; 9-0 Bellator) having successfully defended the title five times, but also fulfilled all contractual obligations making him one of if not the most sought after free agent on the MMA scene. Having used an unorthodox style of wrestling to takedown and smother his opponents,the former Olympic and University of Missouri standout gave his thoughts to Sherdog.com in a recent interview about the upcoming welterweight showdown between Georges St. Pierre and Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks at UFC 167 stating that he is neither a fan nor intimidated by the man who currently sits on top of the 170lbs. division:
“The notion that he’s the best wrestler is insane to me. He’s got a great double leg and good timing, but just watching him, you see a lot of areas he’s just not a natural wrestler. He doesn’t flow as well as other wrestlers. If Johny Hendricks is training his wrestling, which that’s a mistake that a lot of wrestlers make is they get out of it and they think they got to get better at striking and jiu jitsu and they totally forget about their wrestling. I did that for a couple of months earlier in my career and I learned. But they totally step away from wrestling and they get so rusty and they lose a lot of those battles. If Johny Hendricks is staying on point and getting some wrestling in, which hopefully he’s smart enough to do, he’ll definitely outwrestle Georges St. Pierre.
I’d go right for Georges St. Pierre. I don’t think there’s a real clear cut challenger after Hendricks. Maybe Hendricks gets hurt and I fight him right away. But there’s no clear cut challenger that Georges St. Pierre hasn’t already beat at 170, so I don’t see why I can’t just jump in there and beat somebody up”
Though is it too early to tell if a bout with St. Pierre is in Ben Askren foreseeable future pending the outcome of the championship title fight between GSP and Hendricks or on the off chance Bellator finds a loop hole that prevents him from jumping to the UFC much like they did with Eddie Alvarez. Who’s to say but one thing is most certain the grass has never been as greener on the other side than now as eight of the world’s top 10 welterweights as well as a handful of unranked fighters that reside in the UFC would love a shot to welcome him (Askren) inside the octagon. Matt Brown maybe?