Bellator’s welterweight division will look a lot different next time a champ steps into the cage. The long time Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren has been released.
“I’ve said it many times, Ben’s a completely one-dimensional fighter who is utterly dominant in that dimension,” Bellator President Bjorn Rebney stated. “I had a number of discussions with Ben, and it became clear it was time for both parties to move in different directions. We’ve relinquished any right to match here, and Ben can sign with whoever he chooses to sign with. Ben’s been at Bellator since the start of his career. I respect him and what he’s accomplished and wish him the best wherever he goes.”
Askren (12-0 MMA) has dominated Bellator and is a two-time NCAA Division I national champion wrestler. He stopped Andrey Koreshkov with a fourth-round TKO at Bellator 97 and before that stopped Karl Amoussou after three rounds.
Askren has went 9-0 in Bellator with 6 of those going to decision. Askren has been criticized by fans, Dana White, and others for being a one-dimensional fighter. Askren doesn’t have the strength, but definitely has the wrestling pedigree to be a dominate fighter in another mma organization. The UFC would be stupid not to pick him up.
“I’ve been a staunch supporter of Ben Askren,” Rebney recently said. “We can all agree: He’s ridiculously one-dimensional. But the issue with that one dimension is that he’s better at it than anyone on the face of the earth. … I don’t know if Ben will be with us. I don’t know if Ben will be with the UFC. But wherever he goes, he will remain dominant and he will remain amazingly effective at the one thing he does better than anybody.”
Rebney later went on and even tried to get Askren an immediate title shot in the UFC. Rebney said he’d waive Bellator’s matching rights if the UFC offered Askren an immediate title shot. Dana White and the UFC did not bite.
“They’re playing f—ing games,” White later told MMAjunkie.com. ” … I don’t give a s–t what they’re doing.”
Georges St. Pierre needs to worry about Johny Hendricks this weekend at UFC 167, but he has admitted that he would like to fight Askren and see who is the better wrestler.
“Of course (I’d like to fight him),” St-Pierre recently told MMAjunkie.com. “He’s a good fighter, undefeated, and yes, if he comes, I’ll fight him. No problem.”
I’m sure you are all wondering what’s next for Bellator’s welterweight division and the championship? Bellator officials said a new champion will be crowned when Douglas Lima faces the Season 9 welterweight tournament winner in early 2014.
Askren has to be the best mma free-agent right now. There is no way I see him ending up anywhere else but the UFC. The WSOF has some decent competition as of late, but with all Askren’s hype, the UFC is the right home for him right now.