The big news from MMA last week was the historic trade that sent former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship in exchange for former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren. Askren, of course, immediately began talking up a storm, calling out nearly everyone on roster that might be willing to take a fight against him. But that’s not just idle chatter. According to his friend and training partner, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, Askren would beat them all up, too.
Speaking on Instagram Live recently (transcript from MMANytt), Woodley backed up his teammate, saying that Askren is going to turn some heads when he gets into the UFC and prove he is one of the very best fighters in the world.
“I’m happy for my homie Ben Askren, he’s one of the best fighters in the world,” Woodley said. “Not just UFC, not just Bellator, not just ONE FC, he’s had a remarkable career combatively. I would consider wrestling a combative sport as well. Four-time finalist in the NCAA’s, [two] time champ, only lost to two individuals ever in collegiate wrestling, made an Olympic team. He really revolutionized scrambling or as he calls it ‘funk’.”
Woodley and Askren have known each other for 15 years, dating back to their time together on the University of Missouri wrestling team where both earned All-American honors, Woodley at 165 pounds and Askren at 174 pounds. They both went on to tremendous success competing as welterweights in MMA and now both continue to train together with Askren serving as Woodley’s wrestling coach. They also share one other thing: a desire to beat Georges St-Pierre, something Woodley says Askren is custom built to succeed at doing.
“GSP would never stand a chance against Ben,” Woodley said. “Ben thrives against guys’ offensive onslaughts and GSP’s whole thing was always timing. If you ever see some video a long time ago, Ben Askren grappling against Jake Shields and I’m going to tell you this one thing — the highlights of the video were not on that video. Ben is just on a different level.”
That’s not the only MMA great Woodley says Askren could beat, though. In his fervor to call out everyone possible, Askren has also been courting a fight with lightweight champion and standout grappler Khabib Nurmagomedov, and while Askren certainly could not make the drop to 155 pounds for such a fight, Woodley says that if that superfight ever happens, Askren is the worst-case scenario for Khabib.
“Khabib is a ‘G’ but Khabib ain’t never fought nobody like Ben,” Woodley said. “He never fought anybody like Ben, he ain’t never fought nobody like Michael Chandler. Those guys would wreck him on life. Chandler’s intensity is more, his striking is better. Ben doesn’t have the same intensity but his style is not one of intensity.
“His style is one of scrambling, one of static strength, one of consistency, pressure, and ground and pound is ridiculous, jiu-jitsu is ridiculous, wrestling is ridiculous. His ability to get in close and put himself into positions where he’s going to be successful is bar none some of the best I’ve ever seen.”
If we’re being honest, neither of those fights are especially likely to take place. But even without those marquee superfights on the docket, Woodley says he just excited to see his friend finally get the chance to show that its not all talk, that “Funky” is every bit the fighter he has been claiming himself to be.
“I’m excited to see,” Woodley concluded. “Cause I’ve always spoken very highly of Ben not just because he’s a buddy of mine but also a teammate but I also spoke highly of him because of honesty and actuality. He deserves the credit that I’ve given him. Not that I’ve given him but because of the credit he’s earned because of his credentials.”
Results. Two-division champ Aung La N Sang defends ONE middleweight belt with first-round TKO.
Trade. Historic trade finalized: Ben Askren heads to UFC, Demetrious Johnson to ONE.
UFC 230 Timeline.
Sad but probably true.
Popeye’s chicken remix.
Still the GOAT.
Severe MMA. Discussing UFC Moncton, UFC 230, and the DJ-Askren trade.
6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC Moncton.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Kavanagh being the saltiest man.
Not impressed by his performance.
My thoughts on DJ being traded...... MMA is a fucking crazy sport, DJ is the man and paved the way.— Ray Borg (@tazmexufc) October 28, 2018
This can’t be good.
We will blow your mind big news coming @TeamKhabib— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) October 28, 2018
See you soon, boi.
Darren Till calling out McGregor.
Pretty damn cool.
Today, a dream came true. I had the incredible honor of opening the NFL on Fox broadcast. I am a lifelong Saints fan, so this was truly amazing for me. I’m so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve gained over the years through @foxsports and the @ufc. I’ll never forget this one pic.twitter.com/m6XXSKs1mj— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 28, 2018
We did not watch the same event.
Pretty impressive night of fights— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) October 28, 2018
Yair Rodriguez (10-2) vs. Chan Sung Jung (14-4); UFC Denver, Nov. 10.
Dave Rickels (19-5, 2 NC) vs. Guilherme Vasconcelos (10-4); Belator 210, Nov. 30.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2011: Ben Askren won a split decision over Jay Heiron at Bellator 56 to retain his welterweight title.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!
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