Ben Askren is a former olympic wrestler who is looking to make a name for himself in the MMA world. He has done just that, staying undefeated and becoming the winner of Bellator's welterweight tournament, defeating names like Ryan Thomas and Dan Hornbuckle in dominating fashion. Once affectionately referred to by Dana White as, "the $*%$&%ing guy with the afro," Campizone MMA talks to Ben "Funky"Askren-- and asks him what's next.
Campizone MMA: You're someone who's mixing your world class wrestling extremely well with your jiu jitsu. Does it frustrate you sometimes to see wrestlers come into MMA and stall out in the guard?
Ben Askren: Yes, it annoys me so much.
CMMA: Do you feel like it gives wrestling a bad name?
BA: No... it gives that fighter a bad name.
CMMA: Do you feel like MMA is providing a "life-after wrestling," so to speak?
BA: For sure... it is great for wrestlers to have another option after college.
CMMA:What up and coming high level wrestlers in MMA do you have your eye on?
BA: My ex roommate and NCAA champion Mark Ellis, my training partner and NCAA champion Erik Larkin. And my 2008 Olympic teammate Daniel Cormier.
CMMA: What wrestlers at the NCAA level do you have your eye on?
BA: None, I don't know who will fight.
CMMA: Can you identify with a guy like Joe Warren? What do you think about his plans to wrestle and fight MMA simultaneously?
BA: I did it last year, it is tough to split your time and he will figure that out.
CMMA: You had a chance to roll with Marcelo Garcia, what was that like??
BA: Awful, lol. He is on a different level.
CMMA: Are there any other high level grapplers you've been training with?
BA: I rolled with Pablo Popovitch a few times, he is the real deal. And recently I spent a week training with Jake Shields.
CMMA: What does Lyman Good bring to the table as an opponent? What are you preparing for?
BA: A good stand up game.
CMMA: How much MMA do you watch outside of Bellator? Do you keep up with the UFC or Japanese MMA?
BA: A lot, I love mma
CMMA: How is your stand up game progressing?
BA: It is getting quite a bit better.
CMMA: What do you think about a guy like George St. Pierre, who had no formal wrestling training to speak of before MMA, and has been taking down high level wrestlers at will?
BA: Well, I think you are exaggerating a little bit, but to be successful
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CMMA: How do you feel about the UFC's welterweight division? Do you think we'll ever see you fight there?
BA: It is good and yes, eventually.
CMMA: Are you a fan of any fighter in MMA? Who do you think is the greatest of all time?
BA: I am a fan of too many to name, I think it would have to be Fedor when he was in his prime; he beat the best in the world consistently. Anderson is on quite a roll also.
CMMA: Hoping we could get your prediction for a few fights...
BA: Hopefully Koscheck.
CMMA: Ben Askren/Lyman Good?
CMMA: Thanks Ben, I'll see you at Bellator 33 hopefully. We'll be there in attendance.
BA: Thanks a lot.