(Hopefully Askren can back up his mouth against upper-echelon competition.)
Ben Askren was born 27 years ago in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Why he matters:
A four-time All American folkstyle wrestler from the University of Missouri, Askren won the NCAA Division I Championshop twice and the Big 12 Championship three times in his college wrestling career and won the 2008 U.S. USA Senior Freestyle Olympic Team Trials in 2008, earning him a berth in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. He failed to medal after winning his first match via pin against István Veréb from Hungaryand losing his second match to Cuba’s Ivan Fundora.
(Video courtesy of YouTube/RobMMARocks)
Although he continued to train and compete in wrestling throughout 2009, “Funky” turned his focus to his MMA career that year, winning all three of his bouts and earning a contract with Bellator Fighting Championships. Now sporting an unblemished 8-0 record and sporting the Bellator welterweight strap around his waist after winning the promotion’s third season welterweight tournament, Askren will face the stiffest test of his young MMA career when he squares off against season 4 winner Jay Hieron at a yet to be determined Bellator event later this year.