For Askren, consistency matters most

Ben Askren in Manila

Ben Askren first came to the Philippines almost a year ago with eyes set on taking over the ONE Championship’s welterweight division. Prior to signing with ONE, he was the most sought after fighter after leaving Bellator MMA. Today, his name is at the top of the 170-pound rankings.

Though a few things have changed in a short span of time, then ONE FC is now ONE Championship, he’s now on title defense  after hunting for the gold, “Funky” Ben says everything is the same in terms of his approach to a title fight.

“No, nothing changed.” Askren said to Dojo Drifter in an interview. “I think the best competitors whether it’s MMA or other sports, no matter what their status is, they stay focused. And that’s something I think I’ve been doing well is it doesn’t matter if you’re just starting or if you’re already won the title or you’re defending a title, you prepare for each bout the exact same way, and you keep trying to better every bout.”

In a rapidly progressing MMA environment where change is deemed necessary whether inside a training camp or down to the details of a fight plan, Askren’s deeply ingrained consistency carried him through every competition. From his first exposure to wrestling at age 5, his days at the University of Missouri winning the NCAA championship twice, his Olympic selection, and now in MMA where he’s currently undefeated.

Ben Askren ONE Championship
Ben Askren wins the ONE Championship welterweight belt. Photo from ONE Championship

On the night of ONE: Valor of Champions, it will be just another day in the office for the champ as he faces his biggest test to date in Luis Santos. “Sapo” is a 70-fight veteran who has been on a tear since losing twice in Bellator, the same organization where Askren also fought.

“He (Santos) is a dangerous striker and he’s really experienced which are his two best assets but I think he’s got to prepare for me more than me preparing for him.” Askren said regarding what his Brazilian challenger can bring to the table.

But as far as he’s concerned, “Funky” tends to do the same – whenever, wherever, whoever it may be. “Same as always, winning and beat them up. I’m gonna go take him down, beat him up and that’s gonna happen.”

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re competing in a small wrestling match in a gym in front of nobody or in the Mall of Asia Arena where there’s twenty thousand people there. It doesn’t matter. It’s gonna be the same competition every time so no, I don’t feel any more pressure, any less pressure than the other fight because every single time I come to win.”

Ben Askren puts his welterweight title on the line against Luis “Sapo” Santos of Brazil at the Mall of Asia Arena this April 24, 2015 for ONE Championship: Valor of Champions.

Mike Miguel

If there’s anything MMA related going down in the Philippines, Mike would know about it. With a knack for photography and social media, Mike never misses a beat.
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