Ben Askren is testing the free agent waters. | Photo: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com
Ben Askren on Nov. 14 was granted his release by the Bellator MMA promotion, clearing him to sign with a suitor of his choosing.
Askren was a four-time NCAA All-American wrestler, two-time national champion and two-time recipient of the prestigious Dan Hodge Trophy at the University of Missouri. He represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing before transitioning to the professional mixed martial arts scene in February 2009.
A Hartland, Wis., native, Askren has started his MMA career with 12 consecutive victories. He won the Bellator Season 2 welterweight tournament with victories over Ryan Thomas and Dan Hornbuckle before capturing the organization’s 170-pound crown with a unanimous decision over Lyman Good at Bellator 33 in October 2010. Askren successfully defended the title four times prior to being cut loose. He last appeared at Bellator 97 in July, when he stopped Andrey Koreshkov on fourth-round punches in Rio Rancho, N.M.
At 29, Askren would seem to be a prime target for other prominent MMA promotions, including the Ultimate Fighting Championship. However, UFC President Dana White has indicated, at least publicly, that he has no current interest in signing the undefeated welterweight. Where Askren will eventually land remains anyone’s guess.
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