Ben Askren, the Bellator welterweight kingpin, has recently become a free agent and is currently in talks with the UFC.
Askren has had a long reign at the top fighting for Bellator, dominating almost every opponent with his Olympic-caliber wrestling, and has made it look effortless. His wrestling-heavy style has drawn criticism to the fighter, with many claiming he is the most boring man to currently compete in MMA.
I tend to enjoy watching Askren take guys down and break their will, transitioning to dominant positions easily, but he would be a much bigger threat if he were to thoroughly develop his submission game.
When a champion from a major organisation makes the jump the UFC, sometimes they are granted an immediate title match (ie. Melendez). With the current lack of a welterweight contender, Askren could be in line to fight the winner of Georges St Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks.
I firmly believe GSP will be able to duck every punch Hendricks throws and take him down en route to a unanimous decision victory, so with that being said, does Askren pose any more of a threat to GSP?
Well, Askren certainly does present a set of skills that St Pierre hasn’t faced since Jon Fitch, and a type of grittiness that is seen in high school wrestlers. The only problem is that GSP beat Fitch from pillar to post in an incredibly one-sided fight, often unseen in championship bouts.
St. Pierre has been criticized for his safety-first style, opting to use his superior wrestling to control most of his opponents. GSP has not finished an opponent since the corner stoppage in his second fight with B.J. Penn, and much like Askren, has been described as boring. As boring as St. Pierre can be perceived to be, he is consistently one of the biggest PPV draws the UFC has, and the way in which he dominates is simply fascinating to me.
While Askren has certainly been a force at Bellator, he has been fighting lesser opponents, with Jay Heiron possibly being his biggest test. GSP has been running through some of the best fighters in the world, and has the far better skill set than Askren. In this current day of MMA evolution, you can’t expect to be a UFC champion with such a one-dimensional approach to a fight.
So, as far as a GSP vs. Askren fight goes, I think it will be incredibly one-sided. St Pierre will dance around the awkward wrestler, throwing his jab and breaking a couple of orbital bones. I don’t think St. Pierre will get taken down, and even off his back, he’ll be able to get up or sweep Askren. Georges St. Pierre is the greatest welterweight in history, and will not be dethroned by Askren.
Marcus Pordoy is an MMA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMAnalysisRoom, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google