Ben Askren captured two NCAA wrestling title and earned a spot on the 2008 U.S. Summer Olympics team.
After that, it was a quick transition into the world of MMA for the current Bellator welterweight champion.
“I was at American Top Team in Columbia, Missouri,” Askren said, during an interview with MMAFrenzy.com. “We had a jiu-jitsu coach but no striking coach. That helped get my jiu-jitsu game up to par. We sparred every once in a while. I took my first fight after three or four months of training and I was off from there.”
Askren started his career in 2009, earning three submission wins and a TKO triumph. He has since won seven more fights, including a recent victory over Karl Amoussou.
“I wasn’t nervous going into my first fight, I knew my opponent was over-matched,” Askren said. “The guy I ended up fighting was like 4-6. It was fun, but there isn’t much excitement beating a guy when the competition level isn’t up to yours. I had worked super hard for my best victories. Years of work. So it wasn’t that much of a thrill to hop into MMA for a few months and then go beat someone up.”