Ben “Funky” Askren is the owner of a perfect record at 11 wins and zero losses. The welterweight Bellator Champion has defended his belt three times inside the cage of Bellator Championships. The 4-time NCAA division one finalist and two-time champion lands ranked at only No. 8 according to USA Today Sports and MMAjunkie.com.
Askren should easily be ranked at least the top five MMA fighters across the sport. The Wisconsin Arrowhead graduate possesses a set of skills that makes him far superior in Bellator. His skills has set him leaps and bound above his competition, creating the illusion of not competing against tough competitors.
The dedicated Brew City fighter trains out of world renowned trainer Duke Roufus’ gym. Roufusport is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Roufusport is also home to Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, Erik “New Breed” Koch and rising star Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis.
Ben and his younger brother Max, also an NCAA D1 Champion, opened Askren Wrestling Academy. AWA has shown great popularity and success with developing wrestlers in the South Eastern Wisconsin area. A second AWA has opened in the state of Wisconsin proving the development of high school and youth wrestlers.
The top five MMA fighters at welterweight are as follows:
1-George “Rush” St -Pierre– (UFC, Canada)
GSP is the welterweight champion of the UFC and has defended his crown an impressive 8 times since becoming the undisputed champion after revenging his loss to Matt Serra. The 32-year-old champion holds a strong record of 22-2. He continues to dominate each opponent thrown in the octagon. His impressive ground game, supported by his dictating jab, allows him to operate on his opponents anywhere inside the cage. The Canadian’s striking continues to improve as he is mentored under probably the world’s best boxing trainer Freddie Roach.
2- Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks– (UFC, USA)
Hendricks is the UFC welterweight number one contender after defeating Carlos Condit in a three round unanimous decision. This powerful and bruising Team Takedown fighter not only possesses one punch knockout power, which Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch know all too well, but he has the wrestling skills to take any UFC welterweight down. The 3-time NCAA D1 finalist and 2-time NCAA national champion from Oklahoma State may be the only UFC contender to have the skills to defeat the long reigning champion.
3- Ben “Funky” Askren– (Bellator, USA)
“Funky” Ben Askren easily is the owner and operator of the best wrestling skills in all of MMA at the welterweight class. The 2008 team USA wrestling Olympian forces his opponents to try and beat him at his own game. All his foes are yet to accomplish this task as he holds a perfect record of 11-0. Askren’s superior wrestling skills place all his opponents in a disadvantage. Askren is a 4-time NCAA D1 finalist and 2-time NCAA champion. He won the 2006 Dan Hodge Trophy, which is equivalent to the Heisman Trophy of college football. The Bellator Champion finished college with an impressive record of 153-8 and 91 of those victories came by way of fall earning him the Schalles Award for Top Collegiate Pinner of the year (2006, 2007). The ESPY nominated Best Male College Athlete in 2007 will eventually hop into the UFC, throwing a wrench into Dana White’s mix of Welterweights.
4- Rory “Ares” MacDonald– (UFC, Canada)
MacDonald is a Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada native and MMA spawn of GSP. He competes out of the same camp as GSP, TRISTAR GYM. The “Ares” only loss comes at the hands of Carlos Condit with seven seconds remaining in the bout. His 14-1 record comes from his relentless attack while in the cage. Herb Dean refereed his dominating performance over legendary MMA fighter BJ Penn. Macdonald has proven his strong grappling and striking skills throughout each of his fights. The Tristar Gym fighter will battle probably his toughest bout yet against Jake Ellenberger at UFC on FOX 8 July 27, 2013 in Seattle.
5- Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger– (UFC, USA)
Ellenberger at only 28-years-old has an impressive career thus far with 29 wins and 6 losses. The Omaha, Nebraska native stands at six feet tall and fights out of Reign MMA. The former United States Marine wrestled out of University of Nebraska-Kearney, where he went on to earn Division 2 All-American honors two-times after finishing third in the country twice. Even after a second round TKO loss to Martin Kampmann, Ellenberger is on the upswing after two wins, with a unanimous decision over Jay Hieron and KO victory via punches over Nate Marquardt. Ellenberger is battling for an opportunity against Rory MacDonald to become the number one contender. At UFC on FOX 8 will decide the fourth best MMA fighter at welterweight in the world as MacDonald and Ellenberger still are far from competing at the same level as the top three ranked welterweights.
The Top three ranked fighters grappling skills far out rank the rest of the weight class. Expect a new generation of rivalries between fighters in the weight class as they all are within a few years of age of one another.
Expect Askren to fight at least twice more before being released from his lengthy Bellator contract. His jump to UFC would be no surprise and an immediate challenge for the UFC belt shouldn’t be a surprise to fans either. Askren is a mixed martial artist that relies on his advanced wrestling skills to keep him progressing towards wins. Why fix something that isn’t broken? Any MMA-Wrestling fan should love the way the professional disc golfer owns his foes by way of grappling inside the cage.