UFC ‘Wrassler’ Ben Askren Details How His Striking Game Went Down The Drain

Askren's stand-up was never quite the same after watching a movie in 2016.

Ben Askren Wrassler
(via Jaxxon Podcast/YT)

What led to Ben Askren being so one-dimensional in MMA?

What Askren Accomplished With A Limited Arsenal 

That’s what former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson wants to know about the welterweight fighter, whose wrestling skills went unmatched for a decade. Askren’s striking on the other hand wasn’t so great, but his countless takedowns got him all the way to 18-0 and two world titles in Bellator and ONE Championship.

Askren’s level was put to the test whenever he was traded to the UFC in 2019, where he faced former champ Robbie Lawler. The Octagon is where things started to get interesting for the credentialed wrestler as Askren was bloodied by ‘Ruthless’ before pulling off an insane comeback win by submission.

Jorge Masvidal bounced ‘Funky’ from the ranks of the undefeated with a record-breaking five-second KO of Askren at UFC 235. Following Askren’s first loss, he’d showcase his sub-par striking against jiu-jitsu player Demian Maia before being submitted in what was his final MMA fight.

‘Rampage’ Asks Askren Why He Didn’t Sharpen Up His Striking

Then, of course, came the lucrative boxing match against Jake Paul where he was stopped by the influencer in the first round of their 2021 encounter.

“You’re a great wrassler,” Jackson told Askren on the Jaxxon Podcast. “Why didn’t you put that aside for a little bit and train stand-up even before the boxing match [vs. Jake Paul], in MMA?”

Askren Blames His Striking Development On A Movie He Watched

As it turns out, Askren didn’t have much love for the striking department after watching ‘Concussion’, a 2015 film starring Will Smith, that tackles the truth behind brain damage in American football players. From the gridiron to the Octagon, Askren wanted his career to go as smooth as can be, the less CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), the better.

That’s why the former champion dropped sparring altogether.

“I did train stand-up a lot and you know what kind of ruined it for me? I watched that movie ‘Concussion’ in 2016 on my flight to [fight] a Russian dude and I said, ‘Holy shit, I probably shouldn’t be sparring anymore’. I stopped sparring because I figured like, why risk extra fights?” Askren said.

“So, I still fought like three more times and then I thought I was gonna retire and I retired and then I got traded [to the UFC]. So, I unretired like a year and a half later and had three more fights. But, I stopped sparring for like two years. I didn’t get hit much in my earlier career, barely at all. So, I think my stand-up was just fine and then it stopped sparring. You kinda lose the timing and what’s going on, you know? So, I probably shouldn’t have watched that f****** movie. Oh, its scary.”

Jackson Says Sparring Is ‘All About Timing’

‘Rampage’ relates to Askren as the 45 year-old hasn’t fought since 2019. 

“I don’t watch stuff like that,” Jackson said of the ‘Concussion’ movie. “I’m just getting back into sparring because I haven’t been sparring for a while and I’m real sluggish and real rusty and stuff, so I’m gonna try to spar like three times a week. It’s a timing thing. It’s all about timing. My defense is not good as it used to be. Everything, you gotta keep it up if you gonna be in there fighting.”

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

Despite striking being his kryptonite, Ben Askren proved time and time again all he needed to do to win was to keep ahold of you. And up until the last chapter of his career, that very game-plan worked wonders.

“I moved to Duke Roufus in 2011. I was Bellator champ already at that point in time. My thing was, if I can take them down and they can’t land clean shots, then I’m gonna win easy cause I was just better than everyone on the ground,” Askren continued. “So, my thing was how do I penetrate their strikes, right? How do I get past ’em without them landing clean shots? And we had a lot of really good strikers, you with Anthony Pettis and Eric Koch and Mike Rhodes, etc. and so I got to train with really good strikers on like a everyday basis.”

Published on March 21, 2024 at 8:11 pm
Stay up-to-date with the latest MMA news, rumors, and updates by following the RED Monster on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Also, don't forget to add MiddleEasy to your Google News feed Follow us on Google News for even more coverage.


Leave a Comment