Ben Askren, nicknamed “Funky” is currently signed to the UFC. As of August 5, 2019, he is #11 in the official UFC welterweight rankings. Askren is the former ONE Welterweight Champion and the former Bellator Welterweight Champion, making him a two time world champion.
Askren is a former amateur wrestler for the University of Missouri and U.S. Olympic team.
In college, Askren wrestled in the 174 lb. weight class at the University of Missouri. He lost the NCAA championship match to Chris Pendleton in 2004 and 2005 before winning it in 2006 and 2007. Askren is known for his incredible pinning ability (he holds the single-season NCAA pin record); his massive afro, and his "funky", or unorthodox, wrestling style.
Ben had a dominant junior season in 2005-06, winning all 45 of the matches he wrestled, pinning in 25 of those matches. He won the 174 lb. weight class easily at both the Big 12 and NCAA Championships. His outstanding season earned him the Outstanding Wrestler award at the NCAA Championships as well as the Dan Hodge Trophy and the Rev Wrestler of the Year.
He continued that dominance going into his senior year in 2006-07, going undefeated again with a record of 42–0. He won his second consecutive NCAA Championship at 174 lbs. by defeating yet another future NCAA champion, second-ranked Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh, 8–2. Ben finished his collegiate career with an 87 match winning streak. He also became only the second person ever to win the Dan Hodge Trophy twice. Ben was also once again named the Rev Wrestler of the Year. Additionally, he also received the Schalles Award, named after Wade Schalles and given to the most prolific pinner at the end of each season.
Ben finished his collegiate wrestling career with a record of 153–8, with 91 of those victories coming by way of fall. Those 91 pins put him at third on the all-time NCAA Division I pins list. He was also a four-time All American, including being only the twelfth Division I wrestler ever to be a four-time finalist. Askren was also nominated for an ESPY in 2007 in the category Best Male College Athlete. On January 9, 2012 it was announced that Askren would be one of six new inductees to the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.
In the summer of 2008, Askren defeated national runner-up Tyrone Lewis in two consecutive matches by decision at the US Olympic Trials in Las Vegas, becoming the second University of Missouri wrestler to qualify for the Olympics. Askren competed at the 74 kg. weight class in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Askren won his first match via pin against Hungarian István Veréb. In his round of 8 match, he lost to Cuba's Ivan Fundora. The Cuban's loss to Russia's Buvaisar Saitiev in the quarterfinal round ended Askren's hopes to medal at the 2008 games.
Askren is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the lead wrestling coach at the American Top Team School in Columbia, Missouri.
Askren made his professional MMA debut in February, 2009. He defeated Josh Flowers by TKO early in the first round. Askren had his second fight at Patriot Act 2 in Columbia, Missouri. He defeated Mitchell Harris via submission by arm triangle.
Askren was a participant in Bellator Fighting Championships Season 2 Welterweight Tournament. In his first fight, Askren defeated Ryan Thomas via technical submission at Bellator 14 in April, 2010.
After Jim Wallhead was pulled from the tournament, Thomas was given another chance to compete. Thomas defeated Jacob McClintock by TKO in the first round at Bellator 15 and was awarded a rematch with Askren. When the two fought at Bellator 19, Askren came out victorious again with a unanimous decision.
At Bellator 22, Askren defeated Dan Hornbuckle via unanimous decision after dominating him with his superior wrestling for all three rounds, becoming the Bellator Season Two Welterweight Tournament Champion.
In October, 2010 in Philadelphia Askren took on the Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good. DAskren won via unanimous decision to win the Bellator Welterweight Championship.
Askren next returned at Bellator 40 to fight and defeat Nick Thompson by unanimous decision. Following his unanimous decision win over Nick Thompson in a non-title affair at Bellator 40 Askren revealed his plans to relocate to Milwaukee to train under Duke Roufus at Roufusport.
Askren successfully defended his title against season 4 welterweight tournament winner Jay Hieron at Bellator 56 in a split decision. Askren successfully defended his title against season 5 welterweight tournament winner Douglas Lima at Bellator 64 in April, 2012 in Windsor, Canada.
Next for Askren was a title defense against Karl Amoussou at Bellator 86 in January, 2013. Askren managed to open a cut on Amoussou's forehead with an elbow strike and the doctor stepped in between the third and fourth rounds, judging the cut too severe for Amoussou to continue.
In the final fight of his contract, Askren faced tournament winner Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 97. Askren dominated the fight with his wrestling and ground strikes, outstriking his opponent by an astounding 248-to-3 margin before winning via TKO in the fourth round.
In November, 2013, Bellator announced they had released Askren from any further negotiations with the company, and that he was now an unrestricted free agent.
In December, 2013, Askren signed a 2-year 6-fight contract with ONE Fighting Championship.
Askren is also competitive in the sport of disc golf. In 2009, Askren finished 9th in the Amateur World Championships. Askren is sponsored by Discraft. Ben and his brother Max opened up Askren Brothers Wrestling Academy in 2011. Currently there are two locations in Hartland, WI and Somers, NY.
Ben Askren extended his professional MMA record to 13-0 with a first round submission win against Bakhtiyar Abbasov at ONE FC: Honor & Glory May 30, 2014 in Singapore.
Ben Askren won the ONE FC welterweight championship on August 29, 2014 by defeating Nobutatsu Suzuki at ONE FC 19 in Dubai extending his professional record to 14-0.
Askren faced Luis Santos in the main event at ONE Championship: Valor of Champions April 24th. The fight was ruled "No Contest" after an accidental eye poke from Askren at 2:19 of round 1 rendered Sapo unable to continue.
Askren fought Russian Nikolay Aleksakhin at the ONE Championship: Global Warriors on April 15, 2016 and won by unanimous decision.
Askren fought Agilan Thani at the ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes on on May 26, 2017. He won the fight via Submission due to an arm-triangle choke in the first round.
Askren faced Zebaztian Kadestam at the ONE Championship: Shanghai on September 7, 2017. He won the fight via TKO due to punches.
In his last fight, Askren faced fellow veteran Shinya Aoki at ONE Championship: Immortal Pursuit on November 24, 2017. Prior to the fight, he claimed this would be his last fight. He won the fight via TKO due to punches in the first round. He retired from MMA after the win.
On November 3, 2018, it was announced that the UFC has signed Askren under the "trade UFC and One Championship agreement", in exchange for former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson.
Askren made his UFC debut against the former UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler on March 2, 2019 at UFC 235. The bout was initially scheduled for UFC 233, but after the event was cancelled the fight was rescheduled for UFC 235. Askren won the fight via bulldog choke in the first round, though there was controversy regarding the stoppage. With Lawler appearing unconscious, referee Herb Dean stopped the fight. Immediately after the stoppage Lawler stood up, protesting the stoppage. Replays appear to show Lawler's arm going limp and giving a thumbs up right after, which some credit to Lawler slipping in and out of consciousness.
Askren faced Jorge Masvidal on July 6, 2019 at UFC 239. Askren was knocked out from a flying knee from Masvidal in the first 5 seconds of the fight, making this the fastest knockout in UFC history.