Ben Askren

Now that he has fought three times in the UFC, maybe we are coming to the realization that Ben Askren was just a good fighter.

Not a great or elite one.

Askren dominated for several years outside of the UFC. He became Bellator and ONE welterweight champion, winning 19 of his first 20 bouts.

The lone non-victory during that time was a no-contest for Askren.

Simply put, he was untouchable from his debut in 2009 until leaving the sport in 2017.

Included in his run of wins was a finish of Shinya Aoki, a decision vs. current Bellator champion Douglas Lima and several other one-sided performances.

Askren flexed his wrestling muscle and became a slick submission grappler. He is a former Olympic wrestler, nearly scoring a medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. That came after a brilliant career competing for the University of Missouri that included two national titles.

For years, those on the internet that supported Askren claimed him to be the greatest fighter of his generation. The best welterweight in the world, even better than Georges St-Pierre.

And Askren did his part to boost that idea to the masses.

There was nothing wrong with him doing this, as his record backed it up for several years. And to Askren’s credit, he has been honest about his three fights in the UFC to date.

In March, he overcame a tough start vs. former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, surviving his onslaught to earn a first round submission. It appeared we were getting the Ben Askren of old even after two years away from the sport.

But at UFC 239, Jorge Masvidal shattered that in just five seconds. Masvidal came flying in with a knee, Askren ducked in for a takedown, and the rest was history. The finish left Askren questioning himself about his decision to return.

He did return, taking on former UFC title contender Demian Maia this past weekend in Singapore. Somewhat of a return to his former fighting grounds, ONE Championship. But Maia was the better man on this night, using a rear-naked choke to gain a submission win.

After several years of being unbeaten, Askren has lost twice this year. And twice in a four-month period.

At 35 years old, there is no reason Askren cannot build himself back up and become a contender in the UFC’s welterweight division. But does he want that? It will be a hard road back to contention if the Wisconsin native does decide to embark on that path.

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