Ben Askren was the bluest of blue-chip prospects when he made his MMA debut in February 2009. The two-time NCAA wrestling champion and 2008 Olympian had already shown rapid development in submission grappling and was about as obvious a future contender as had ever shown up in the cage or ring.
The 3-0 Askren signed with Bellator MMA and promptly ripped through the Season 2 welterweight tournament, paving his way to a shot at inaugural 170-pound titleholder Lyman Good. On the way, Askren was sufficiently impressive that he entered the cage as a -500 favorite against the 10-1 champ.
Askren lived up to the hype that night, largely blanking Good across five rounds. While Good had his few moments, including a solid upkick in the second round and a credible triangle choke in the fifth, the fight was largely a wrestling clinic, as Askren not only took Good down but achieved full mount in all five rounds.
The former University of Missouri Tiger won by unanimous scorecards (50-45, 49-46, 48-47), the last two of which were frankly puzzling, but Askren was nonetheless the new Bellator welterweight champion. He would defend the title five times in completely dominant fashion before jumping to One Championship and eventually the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Good, meanwhile, spent several years in the wilderness, relatively speaking, including an unsuccessful shot on “The Ultimate Fighter” and a CFFC title, before finally signing with the UFC, where he is currently 3-3.