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Interview: Ben Askren Vows to ‘Hammer Nick Thompson in Every Area of Fighting’

(Funky Ben goes for the funky finish against Ryan Thomas at Bellator 14. Props: Fight! Magazine)

By Anton Gurevich

Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben “Funky” Askren will step inside the Bellator cage this Saturday, fighting MMA veteran Nick Thompson in the main event of the night. Askren won the Bellator Season Three Welterweight Tournament last year, defeating Dan Hornbuckle in the finals, then captured the Bellator Welterweight title from the hands of Lyman Good at Bellator 33.

“Funky” is 7-0 in his Mixed Martial Arts career, and is considered one of the most decorated wrestlers in the sport today. Askren was a two-time NCAA Division I Champion for the University of Missouri and a 74kg Freestyle Wrestling participant at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Here’s what Ben Askren had to say about his fight against Nick Thompson, the future of his career, and Jake Shields‘s chances against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129. Bellator 40 will take place this Saturday, April 9th, at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma. The event will be aired LIVE on MTV2 at 9p/8c.

Your opponent, Nick Thompson, is a well-rounded fighter with a lot of submissions and KO victories on his record. What was the most important aspect of your preparations for this fight?
ASKREN: I just concentrated on getting myself better as a fighter. At this point in time, I know I have a lot of areas where I can improve, and I’m just working hard on closing some holes in my game. If I do that, give my best in training, the rest of the things will just take care of themselves during the fight. I’m fully prepared and ready to go. It’s just about going there and beating somebody up.

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Payday- April 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm
Sorry Karma - saw him twice in the tourney and both performances were picture perfect displays of lay and pray. I know you got love for the guy, and maybe I just caught him on two bad nights but dude - can't give the guy a third chance - might be coma inducing and I got kids to feed.
KarmaAteMyCat- April 7, 2011 at 10:57 am
Actually he didn't beat all his opponents by laying on them he is 7-0 three wins by submission three by decision and one by knockout. Perhaps people should know what their talking about before talking out their asses.
DARKHORSE06- April 7, 2011 at 10:27 am
I love this guy and his afro is inspiring.
Payday- April 7, 2011 at 10:11 am
Hammer him in all areas as long as "all areas" is made up of laying on top of someone like a wet blanket. Dude's fights make Fitch look like a kick boxer.
KidDinomite- April 7, 2011 at 9:58 am
Uhh yeah, Askren is the very definition of Lay n Pray. He beat all of his opponents by grabbing onto them and winning by points because he doesn't know how to finish nor does he seem to know how to lock in any subs. Worst welterweight champion in MMA right now. I wanna see this guy get KTFO.
KarmaAteMyCat- April 7, 2011 at 9:58 am
I found his last several fights entertaining. I enjoyed them. I dunno to each their own Ben can keep doing whatever he wants and I'll keep tunning in to watch him do it.
J. Spaceman- April 7, 2011 at 9:52 am
@RX some sub attempts would be nice. I mean, I like this guy and all, but his last couple fights were so boring I thought I was watching the bastard offspring of Jake Shields and Jon Fitch.
ReX13- April 7, 2011 at 9:10 am
Hoping to see Askren use more of his Jits for sub attempts. i think he takes it rather easily.
MyDonkeyPunch- April 7, 2011 at 8:04 am
I pick Askren by curly Q domination.