The UFC has done a phenomenal job over the years bringing in the best mixed martial arts talent from around the world. Names like Hector Lombard, Alistar Overeem, and Jose Aldo are just a few of the all-star fighters they have bulked up their roster with. Heck, they just signed Eddie Alvarez, the most coveted fighter not doing battle inside the octagon, to a multi-fight contract.
But one fighter who has eluded the UFC for a while now is Ben Askren.
Whether it be ego, pride or just not seeing eye to eye, Askren and the UFC, mainly Dana White, have never been on the same page and because of this unfortunate circumstance, Askren, probably the greatest fighter not in the UFC, finds himself in lesser promotions, dominating lesser fighters.
The Wisconsin native has been a top tier athlete even before he ever stepped inside a cage.
Askren is a two-time wrestling champion at the University of Missouri with a record of 153-8.
Askren went on to wrestle in the Olympics in 2008 but did not medal in the games.
That summer may have been the biggest defeat and also the greatest motivating factor for Askren because in 2009 Askren would have his first MMA match and begin his accent up the MMA rankings.
Like Liam Neeson in the movie, “Taken,” Askren has a unique set of skills that makes him one of the most difficult fighters to compete with.
His expertise in wrestling along with his with tenacious Jiu Jitsu, makes for a scary ground game that most fighters don’t want to dabble with, and the worst part is, it doesn’t matter what they want.
Also, Askren trains out of one of the best fight camps in the world at Duke Rufus sport in Milwaukee, home to fighters like Pat Barry and current UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
Askren has amassed a flawless 14-0 MMA record, getting every opponent to the ground at one point or another.
Many fighters have claimed they will be the one to figure out the puzzling ground game of Askren but all have failed in their attempts.
And it’s not as if Askren is some opposing figure. He is not shredded with veins popping out of his gigantic muscles, his body is not littered with aggressive looking tattoos, and he rocks a curly afro that makes him look more like a frat boy than a fighter.
But regardless of appearances Askren is as dominating a fighter out there as anyone on the UFC roster, which is why it’s so strange that he is yet to become a part of it.
Askren is not one to hold back his tongue and neither is UFC president, Dana White, which is why Askren is yet to step inside the octagon.
Askren is social media savvy and takes to twitter often to rave and rant about other fighters and promotions. On numerous occasions he has bad mouthed the UFC, Dana White and the fighters they have compiled and White is not the kind of person to take one on the chin and not fire back.
It is because of this back and forth between the two, that when Askren wasn’t resigned by Bellator, for being too dominant, think about that for a second, that the UFC decided to shun possibly the greatest fighter in the world right now.
Askren instead signed with One FC, where he recently earned their welterweight title in an impressive first round TKO victory over what was supposed to be one of their top fighters.
If Askren is to stay on this unbeaten path then soon there will be no denying one of the greatest fighters, a spot on the roster of the greatest organization in the world. No matter how bitter of a taste it may leave in Dana White’s mouth, he will have no choice but to sign Askren.
And let’s face it, White is the kind of guy that will eat his words from time to time, just look at the Nick Diaz being resigned or Ronda Rousey and women’s MMA, situation.
But until a deal is done Askren is still the best fighter not under the Zuffa banner.
Maybe the UFC is scared to sign him, maybe Askren is just too good.
Or maybe it’s all a ploy to make the fans around the world think it will never happen and then next year we will see in bright, 80’s themed lights, Ben Askren signs with the UFC and is set to fight current welterweight champion on Super Bowl weekend.
A guy can wish cant he?