I witnessed Ben Askren’s first Bellator match from the comfort of a cageside photo gig at Bellator 14, little did I know on that surprisingly cold April day that we would be seeing the birth of a Frate Trane. After plowing through the season two welterweight tournament against the likes of Dan Hornbuckle and dominating the champ Lyman Good, Ben Askren has gone on to retire Nick ‘The Goat’ Thompson and is set to face his next challenge in Jay Hieron at Bellator 55. I was able to talk to the Bellator welterweight champ and ask him a bunch of questions that have been laying around the MiddleEasy offices for a while now, mostly about Disc Golf. Enjoy.
So how is training with Duke Roufus working out for you? Good I was just there this morning everything is going really good.
How is the evolution of your stand up? It’s going really well, I’m not a stand up superstar yet, but things are coming along.
Will there ever come a time where you will feel the need to prove you improving standup by saying you’re going to knock someone out, or will you always stick to your bread and butter: wrestling? I will go with the second one, I will stick to my wrestling for sure, I want my stand up to be good obviously, if the guy is good on the ground at sucks on his feet I will keep it on the feet now and you know, take him out. But for the most part I will stick with my wrestling because it’s so far advanced and I think it will be really hard to get my kickboxing to that level.
So this has been your first camp with Roufus, in previous years you’ve coached wrestling at high levels and been doing a bunch of different things, how is it now that you have one dedicated fight camp? I just think this camp is at such a high level, there are tons and tons of great training partners every day and that’s something I never had before was the great training partners on a day in and day out basis.
How do you feel when people call you ‘another boring wrestler’? It’s America they are entitled to it, give me time and I will be proving them wrong. Yep.
Is it true that you lost to Jon Jones in College wrestling? No that’s not true.
Does Jay Hieron bring anything that you haven’t seen before? Is there anything special you are game planning for? No he’s a solid veteran and he’s well rounded but I don’t think he’s a standout in any one category. I mean his best game is probably wrestling and he probably thinks it’s going to nullify mine.
It seems like some trash talk has started, is this fight starting to get personal with you? I never really liked him to begin with, I mean since the day I met him haha so I wouldn’t say it’s just starting, you could say I have a personal distaste for him.
What is it that you don’t like about him? Personality clash? Yeah I guess you could say that. We fought the same night in Oklahoma and he was just walking around like his shit didn’t stink and it really just rubbed me the wrong way.
So there’s this picture of you completely naked with the Bellator belt covering your bits. Oh God
Did Beau Taylor take that picture? No I took it and sent it to him because he has one of him sitting on the toilet with his belt.
What’s you relationship like with the infamous OMA? Oh it’s good I just saw him at the Battle of the Bayou UFC show in Louisiana and he was being hilarious as usual. I met him back in 2006 and he didn’t even know me but he let me borrow his apartment for a week which was really helpful to me and we’ve been friends ever since.
Your threshold for caring about other welterweights emotions is at 0% Haha.
People appreciate you being ruthless in the way you call people out, especially on Twitter, you think you can beat any welterweight don’t you? Yeah that’s my opinion, some people appreciate it and some people don’t appreciate it that kind of depends on…their perspective.
You’re on MiddleEasy.com’s Frate Trane list, are you aware of this? No I was not, that’s awesome.
You met N.O.R.E at Bellator 33, what was that like? He was supposed to do a rap as I walked out or whatever but the people we were with at the time, I think Fox Sports said it wasn’t going to fly.
Zeus, the creator of MiddleEasy has argued before publicly with Joe Rogan that you are a modern day Sakuraba, do you agree? Hahaha In what sense? Grappling?
Yeah I mean my combination of wrestling and Jiu Jitsu, no one has really put it together the way I am. Now my Jiu Jitsu, obviously I’m not at the level of Marcelo Garcia but he takes it to a whole different plane. But in MMA my combination of wrestling and Jiu Jitsu, no one has put those together like I have yet and if I’m going to continue to get better and better at it.
Have you ever been in trouble in any of your fights? I’ve never felt that way, some people said I got upkicked by Lyman Good and that it hurt me but I didn’t think it did.
Would you ever move up to 185? If someday I am the best fighter in the world at 170 pounds I have beaten every single person worth beating at welterweight and beaten everyone in the top ten maybe. That’s the only way.
You are on Twitter a lot, and you have the ability to almost instantaneously call anyone out that is available at welterweight, it’s pretty impressive. Is your finger on the pulse of the MMA Twitterverse? Oh well I’m a huge fan of the sport of MMA as well as a competitor. I’m also an opportunist. If someone as big as Nate Marquardt gets cut by the UFC, oh well where else can he go because he can’t go to Strikeforce. Well maybe we can get him to Bellator and make the fight happen, so that’s what I’m trying to do.
Switching gears now to Disc Golf, we hear you are quite the competitor, what brand do you prefer? Discraft! I’m a Discraft player all the way!
What is your favorite course? Oh man…That’s a tough one…Wow there are too many I really love. One of my hobbies is traveling and playing so I’ve played a hundred some courses. My home course is Indian Hills in Columbia, Missouri and that one is awesome. I’ve probably played that one more than anything. I would say that one is my favorite because of familiarity.
How far can you throw back hand and how far side arm? Side arm not very far, I’m not very good side arm…Back hand my longest recorded throw was, um i threw 487 feet in a distance competition. I throw almost all back hand.
How many holes in one do you have? Thirteen? I had two this fall…Thirteen or fourteen.
Do you have any tips for Disc Golf novices? Go out and just play a ton, that’s the only way. Play a ton and you will get better.
How long have you been playing Disc Golf for? I played a few times in high school, and then it was my second year in college when I got my car that I started playing a lot. So that was 2004 and I did my first tournament in 2005 and i have been playing heavily since then.
Can you clarify why you called GSP boring? It was spur of the moment and they did a name association thing and boring was the first thing that popped into my head. I mean he does play it safe, there were some of his old fights when he was very exciting, but more recently he has been playing it so safe.
Would you say you are the best wrestler in MMA? In my opinion..Well there was a guy who recently came in with better credentials he was a world champion, Yoel Romero, but I don’t have that on my resume, besides him I would say yes.
Do you think Joe Warren is going to make it through the Olympic trials this year? Not if he doesn’t start training a lot harder than he is.