Askren: MMA Requires Fighters to Develop Skills Beyond Their Base

By Sam Genovese Oct 27, 2011
Bellator Fighting Championships welterweight titleholder Ben Askren does not want to be viewed as a wrestler who is afraid to leave his comfort zone. He recognizes that many of his peers have relied too heavily on their base skill and have suffered as a result. In a recent interview with, Askren discussed the importance of developing one’s secondary skills:

Jon Fitch wasn’t a great college wrestler by any means, and he has made it far in mixed martial arts. At some point, he had to leave his comfort zone to get to where he is. I watch a guy like Jake Rosholt; he was a three-time NCAA champion. In his losses in the UFC, he tapped so fast. Honestly, if you put me in a triangle, I’m going to fight you for a minute -- minimum. He looked very uncomfortable still in the standup. Then he got [Matt Horwich] to the ground but didn’t get on top of him. He’s a wrestler, but he doesn’t look comfortable standing and doesn’t look comfortable on the ground. What is he comfortable with? I think you see wrestlers stuck in that box, but it’s not just wrestlers; it’s everyone. You see jiu-jitsu guys who just want to grapple and you see boxers who just want to box.”

Askren will defend his Bellator crown against former International Fight League champion Jay Hieron at Bellator 56 on Saturday in Kansas City, Kan.
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