Ben Askren (born July 18, 1984) is a retired mixed martial artist and amateur wrestler from the United States. Before competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Ben Askren was the former Bellator and ONE Welterweight Champion, being undefeated for over a decade (UFC).
He was a two–time NCAA Division I national champion (four-time finalist), three-time Big 12 Conference champion (four-time finalist), and the second wrestler to win multiple Dan Hodge Trophies (the wrestling equivalent of the Heisman Trophy) in folkstyle wrestling for the Missouri Tigers. He was also a world-submission wrestling champion.
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Chuck and Michele Askren gave birth to Benjamin Michael Askren on July 18, 1984, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Max Askren is his brother’s name. He was born and raised in Wisconsin, where he attended Arrowhead High School before attending the University of Missouri, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 2007.
During his childhood, he participated in a variety of sports, but his passion for wrestling grew stronger. His father introduced him to wrestling when he was six years old, but he only took the sport seriously after joining a club in sixth grade.
When Ben was six years old, his father Chuck introduced him to wrestling, but he didn’t take it seriously until he entered sixth grade and joined a club. He was a two–time WIAA state champion while attending Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin during his high school years. In folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco-Roman, he has placed on the podium at several US National competitions.
Ben Askren wrestled 174 pounds for the Missouri Tigers in college, where he competed alongside future UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley and future Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler. he won the Big 12 Conference Championships and finished second at the NCAA Championships during his rookie season (2003–2004), both against Oklahoma State great Chris Pendleton.
Ben Askren finished second in both the NCAA and Big 12 Championships during his sophomore season (2004–2005), losing both title matches to Pendleton. After finishing second for half of his career, Ben Askren stepped up as a junior and senior, becoming only the third athlete in history to win the Dan Hodge Trophy on multiple occasions, as he went 87–0 in both seasons.
He defeated numerous NCAA champions during his career, including Jake Herbert and Keith Gavin. Ben Askren finished with a 153–8 record (seven defeats were handled by Chris Pendleton and one by Ryan Lange), two Dan Hodge Trophies, a Schalles Award, and two NCAA championships, three Big 12 Championships, and 91 pins, the third most in NCAA Division I history.
After the Olympics, Ben Askren decided to pursue a career in mixed martial arts (MMA), but he continued to participate in wrestling on a regular basis. In the semifinals of the Cerro Pelado International in Cuba in 2010, he avenged his Olympic defeat by defeating Fundora. Askren had just won the Dave Schultz Memorial International when this happened.
Later that year, at the Midlands Tournament, Askren upset 2009 world silver medalist Jake Herbert in a folkstyle rules match. Askren also competed in the Flo Premier League and the Agon Wrestling Championships. In the annual Beat the Streets benefit event in May 2019, Askren was defeated by five-time World and Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs due to technical dominance.
After a little more than a year away from the ring, he announced in 2020 that he had successful hip surgery and plans to return to competitive freestyle wrestling shortly.
Ben Askren’s Freestyle
Ben Askren’s “funky” style depended mainly on unorthodox scrambling methods and he was recognized for his pinning abilities as well as his big afro. He was one of the most dominant collegiate wrestlers of all time. His unusual and unusual body type for a wrestler allowed him to perform maneuvers that his opponents couldn’t, putting them in awkward positions all the time. He was named one of six new entrants to the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame on January 9, 2012.
When questioned if his lack of familiarity with the new ruleset was a problem, Ben Askren replied, “That wasn’t it.” With tears in his eyes, he added, “I just wasn’t good enough. I sucked.”
Mixed Martial Arts Career
On February 7, 2009, Ben Askren made his professional MMA debut. Headhunter Productions hosted the event at the Holiday Inn Select Executive Center in Columbia, Missouri. He stopped Josh Flowers in the first round by TKO. At Patriot Act 2 in Columbia, Missouri, Ben Askren fought for the second time. Mitchell Harris was beaten with an arm triangle submission. The battle was fought at 175 pounds catchweight.
From September 26–27 in Barcelona, Spain, Ben Askren fought in the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship. He defeated Toni Linden by arm-triangle choke in his maiden match. He was defeated by a figure four-footlocker early in the bout against Pablo Popovitch, an experienced grappler with whom he had trained the previous summer. Popovitch went on to win the under 77 kg (169 lb) division of the competition.
At the 2009 FILA 2° World Grappling Championship, Ben Askren also competed. In the 84 kg no-gi division, Askren competed against 2008 World Champion Jacob Volkmann. He won gold in the category after outwrestling Volkmann.
Ben Askren competed in the Season 2 Welterweight Tournament of Bellator Fighting Championships. On April 15, 2010, he defeated Ryan Thomas by technical submission in his first bout at Bellator 14. The fight’s outcome was disputed since Thomas challenged the stoppage as soon as Askren let go of the choke.
Thomas was given another chance to compete after Jim Wallhead was removed from the event. Thomas won a rematch with Askren after defeating Jacob McClintock by TKO in the opening round at Bellator 15. When the two battled again at Bellator 19, Askren won a unanimous decision after controlling Thomas for three rounds with wrestling.
At Bellator 22, Ben Askren won the Bellator Season Two Welterweight Tournament by unanimous decision over Dan Hornbuckle, with his superior wrestling dominating Hornbuckle for all three rounds.
Ben Askren signed a two-year, six-fight contract with ONE Championship on December 9, 2013. In the main event of ONE FC: Honor and Glory on May 30, Ben Askren faced Bakhtiyar Abbasov, who was on a nine-fight winning run. He won the fight in the first round by submission (arm-triangle choke) and then called out ONE champion Nobutatsu Suzuki, saying, “Suzuki is going to bring me my belt.” He can either place it in the middle of the cage and hand it over to me, or I can take it the hard way!”
On August 29, 2014, he battled Suzuki at ONE Fighting Championship: Reign of Champions. He won the battle via TKO in the first round due to strikes, becoming the new ONE Welterweight Champion.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
The UFC signed Askren through the “trade UFC and One Championship deal” on November 3, 2018, in return for former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson.
On March 2, 2019, at UFC 235, Askren made his UFC debut against former UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler. The fight was originally set for UFC 233, but it was rescheduled for UFC 235 after the event was canceled. Askren won the bout in the first round with a questionable stoppage by referee Herb Dean via bulldog choke.
Lawler’s arm appears to go limp and then give a thumbs up in replays, which some attribute to him drifting in and out of consciousness. Although the decision to stop the fight was contentious, Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett stated that the commission had “no problem” with Dean’s decision.
Ben Askren battled YouTube star Jake Paul in a boxing match on April 17, 2021, losing by TKO after a social media feud. Fans and fellow MMA fighters also questioned the match’s authenticity. According to Triller, the match produced at least 1.45 million pay-per-view purchases. Several people, including UFC president Dana White, have questioned the validity of the pay-per-view number
Ben Askren’s Net Worth
Ben Askren has a net worth of $500 thousand dollars as an American MMA fighter and former amateur wrestler. Ben Askren has won 19 of his 22 professional matches as of this writing.
In the sport of disc golf, he is a competitive player. He placed seventh in the Amateur World Championships in 2009. Discraft is a sponsor of Ben Askren. In addition, he invests in cryptocurrencies. Ben Askren is a co-host of a few weekly wrestling podcasts, including ‘FloWrestling Radio Live’ with Christian Pyles on FloWrestling, ‘The Funky & FRB Show’ with Front Row Brian on Rokfin, and ‘The T-Row & Funky Show’ with two-time NCAA champion Tommy Rowlands on Rokfin. Ben Askren is thought to be agnostic.
Amy, Askren’s wife, works with Firefly Real Estate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is a professional real estate agent. Amy graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in finance and began her real estate career in Tosa shortly after. She had 25,000 Instagram followers and was one of two people Paul used to follow in order to irritate Ben Askren. After listening to Ben Askren on Paul’s brother Logan’s podcast, Amy has gushed about her husband’s mental fortitude on her own Instagram page.