The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight division added another potential title contender to its roster in undefeated former One Championship and Bellator MMA champion Ben Askren.
While Askren is a relative unknown to some fans, his signing for the UFC is significant given his credentials and the fact he came to the UFC from One Championship in a swap deal with former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson heading the other way.
According to UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, the decorated wrestler will have no issue competing in the UFC and already sounded a warning to prospective opponents about how effective Askren’s wrestling actually is.
“Everybody’s in trouble,” Rogan said on his podcast regarding the UFC’s signing of Askren. “There’s a lot of mother**kers in trouble if Ben Askren gets a hold of you. You’re like ‘why can’t I get up?’”
Fans of Rogan‘s podcast know he’s been building Askren up for quite some time now and has expressed in the past his disappointment of not being able to see him compete against the best fighters in the UFC at welterweight, most notably Georges St-Pierre.
“There’s a reason why he’s undefeated and he hasn’t been hit in several fights,” Rogan said about Askren. “I had him on the podcast because I wanted to let people know about him. I’ve been a big fan of Ben Askren’s from back when he was a Bellator champion.
“If you watch his fights in Bellator against [Andrey] Koreshkov and [Douglas] Lima -- Lima’s a beast and he just dominated him. Lima f*cks people up, Lima’s a dangerous, dangerous cat and Ben Askren was like ‘whoops you’re on your back again, you can’t get up and you’re taking punches.’ It’s just a different caliber of wrestling.”
Rogan believes Askren -- a two-time NCAA champion and former Olympian-- should have no issues at all competing with the best the UFC as to offer at 170 pounds.
“I’ve said it many, many times -- it’s the most important skill for MMA. It’s wrestling,” Rogan stated. “It dictates where the fight takes place. If you want to stand up, the guy can’t take you down -- Chuck Liddell style -- and if you want to go to the ground, you’re the one who gets to dictate where the fight takes place. If you’re the superior wrestler, it’s the best base for MMA. I really believe that.”
Askren is targeting a debut inside the Octagon in early 2019. While he doesn’t have an opponent as of yet, he has expressed a desire in fighting former welterweight title challenger Darren Till sometime in the future.