One Step from Glory: Exclusive Interview with Ben Askren

On October 21st, Ben Askren will step into the cage with his sights firmly set on leaving as the Undisputed Bellator Welterweight Champion. The undefeated winner of Bellator’s Season Two tournament will face the winner of Season One, also undefeated Lyman Good. A win for Askren would see the Wrestler push his way into the top ten.

Currently 6-0, The University of Missouri standout face another tough fighter, but will come in as confident in his own skills and power as always. As well as being known for his wrestling, “Funky” also holds a purple belt in BJJ, and has won 3 fights by Submission, 2 by decision and 1 via Knockout. He won the Welterweight gold at Bellator 22, outclassing Dan Hornbuckle in a tough contest.

You’re fighting Lyman Good on October 21st, how is your training going?
– Everything is going really good right now, I trained hard, ya know most the hard training is done right now since I only got a little over a week left. I did a lot of sparring, a lot of striking, a lot of jiu-jitsu and everything has gotten a lot better since my last fight. My weight now is about 185 pounds, and two days before the fight I’ll start the cut.

Obviously everyone is aware of your wrestling skills, will it be the main part of your gameplan against Lyman?
-Yea of course, my wrestling is always going to be better than all my other skills. No matter how good I get at jiu-jitsu, at boxing, my wrestling will be better, so of course it will be the focal point of my gameplan, but I do have other things that I can use against him.

Can you talk about your training partners at Lion’s Den, and what its like there?  What kind of difference has it made for you?
-Yea, I have a really good boxing coach, Mario Francis, that I like.  He’s been helping me with my hands a lot.  Then I have two black belt jiu-jitsu coaches who are real good with me. As far as training partners, there’s no one really that famous that I can tell you, but they’re all a bunch of solid professionals that let me get some good sparring in and they have a good variety of partners.

Lyman Good has not fought in more than a year, whereas you were quite busy participating in the Bellator Welterweight tournament.  Do you think this will play a role in your match with him?

-Yea definitely, I mean obviously he hasn’t been fighting in a while and I just don’t think he can be ready for the pace that I am going to keep up in the fight.  You know, I have great cardio and I’m going to keep a high pace, I’m not going to stand around and I just don’t think he will be able to withstand what I’m bringing to him.

And what do you think about him as an opponent?  Do you see any weaknesses in his game?

– Yea, I see a lot of weaknesses.  I don’t think his wrestling is very good, I don’t his jiu-jitsu is very good… And you know, his striking, I think is the best part of his game. But I don’t think he’s as powerful as a lot of people think he is.

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Your last fight was against Dan Hornbuckle, who I personally considered as one of the top ten Welterweights in the world. It was very impressive and probably the biggest victory of your career.  What do you think of your performance against Hornbuckle and how did it help prepare you for your future fight with Lyman Good?
– The fight against Hornbuckle went really well. Ideally I would have submitted him, because that’s really what I want to do is finish people, but I was able to control him with wrestling and superior jiu-jitsu and then really just land a lot of damage.  Although I didn’t finish him, I really felt like there was no question who won that fight.

Fair enough. And what would it mean for you to become the Bellator Welterweight Champion?
– That would be awesome. My final goal is to become the best Welterweight fighter in the world and being the Bellator champ would be a good start to that.

In general, you’re a pretty young fighter and just starting your career.  What do you hope to achieve as a fighter?
-Like I said, I want to be the best fighter in the world, pound for pound. I think its well within my reach and I’m going to get it within the next few years here.

As of now you are signed with Bellator, but in the future would you consider signing with the UFC or Strikeforce, or maybe fighting in Japan?
-You know Bellator is treating me great right now, so I’m going to stick with them. Then, when I feel like I need to move on to something bigger, whether it be Strikeforce, Japan, or the UFC I’m going to move on, but right now they’re doing great for me.

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The UFC’s Welterweight division is currently controlled by Georges St. Pierre and his wrestling.  How do you think you would do against that kind of fighter?
-You know, I think I would be able to do very well against him because he’s really good at controlling a lot of his fights with his wrestling and I know that would not happen if we fight. I think I’ll take him out of his comfort zone and make him fight a different fight. That being said, I don’t think I’m on that level yet, but I do think I will get there within a fairly quick amount of time.

Great.  And you’re prediction for the fight on October 21st?
– I think Lyman Good is going to go to sleep is what I think.  I’m not going to tell you how, but he is going to go to sleep.

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Alright Ben, would you like to mention any sponsors or pass on a message to your fans at
– Yea I would like to thank my sponsors, Cage Hero and Everlast.  Also, the gym I train at, The Den, and my coaches Kiko and Mario Francis. Many thanks to all my fans who keep following. Tune in on October 21st to see an exciting fight!