Ben Askren still believes he would have bested Khabib Nurmagomedov had they fought.
Askren is now retired from mixed martial arts. However, when he signed with the UFC in 2018, the former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion came with plenty of hype. One of the reasons was “Funky” himself promoting a potential fight between him and Nurmagomedov.
That never panned out as Askren would go 1-2 with the promotion before retiring due to hip issues. With that said, he still maintains that he would have likely outgrappled Nurmagomedov if they ever collided in his prime.
“We would grapple and I think I would be better than him.” Askren said in a recent interview (via Middle Easy). “I feel weird saying this because people go like ‘yeah, you’re full of sh*t.’”
“No one outgrappled [Khabib]. Nobody did. Maybe I’m wrong on this but if we look at the best possible candidates, I’m definitely one of them. Obviously, I have a small size advantage too.”
Ben Askren: Nurmagomedov Never Fought A High-Level Wrestler
Other than size, Askren also feels Nurmagomedov never fought a high-level wrestler. At least one whose main game is focused on wrestling which would rule Justin Gaethje out.
“He never, unfortunately, fought any real high-level wrestlers,” Askren added. “I was actually disappointed with Justin Gaethje’s wrestling was. Justin Gaethje had some solid success [in college wrestling], but his wrestling was really bad in that fight. He was like seventh place, he was definitely All-American, he was lower though.
“I would like to see how he dealt with someone who I thought, ‘oh man, this guy’s a really high-level wrestler’… I would like to see him in that situation and see how he does.”
For now, we’ll never know as “The Eagle” is retired himself. But in a potential grappling match, Askren would look towards single legs if he ever faced Nurmagomedov.
“If someone said ‘hey Ben, Khabib wants to roll with you. Okay, I’m there tomorrow. Sounds like a blast, let’s go.’ I would probably try single legs and stuff. Honestly, I don’t have the slightest clue. I’d have to feel him out. But, single legs are my best takeaway.”
Do you think Ben Askren in his prime could defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov?