Ben Askren, who represented the United States in freestyle wrestling at the Beijing Olympics this past summer, is scheduled to make his mixed martial arts debut on February 7 in Columbia, Missouri.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com confirmed the news with Dan Lambert, the president of American Top Team, where Askren is currently preparing for his pro debut.
Askren, who will compete at welterweight, is one of the most decorated amateur wrestlers in U.S. history. He was the 2006 and 2007 winner of the Danny Hodge Trophy, an annual award given to the top collegiate wrestler.
The 24-year old was also a two-time NCAA champion while competing for the University of Missouri, where he posted an amazing record of 153-8 during his four-year amateur career. He is also fourth on the all-time NCAA list for pins with 91, trailing only Gene Mills (107), Wade Schalles (106), and Larry Bielenberg (94).
Askren is also scheduled to fight on February 26 in Miami. Already viewed as one of the top unsigned prospects in the sport, it’s likely Askren is already attracting interest from major national promotions. However, his asking price will no doubt increase if he’s able to begin his career 2-0.