It’s pretty safe to say that Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren is not much of a fan of his upcoming opponent Jay Hieron. Neither fighter has had many kind words to say about the other ever since Hieron was signed by Bellator for their welterweight tournament earlier this year.
Now with their title fight looming overhead in just a few days, the static between Askren and Hieron appears to be reaching a fevered pitch.
Bellator’s top welterweight isn’t afraid to speak his mind so he lays it out very simply when talking about Hieron. He says the Xtreme Couture fighter isn’t really much of a threat.
“I think this is going to be very one-sided. I think No. 1, for starters, I think he’s got cardio that’s not too great. I think we saw that in the Rick Hawn fight and even in the Brent Weedman fight. We saw Weedman win the third round. He definitely gets tired as the fight goes on and we’re in a five-round fight,” Askren told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
“Secondly, he’s got decent wrestling, but if I want to take him down, I’m going to take him down, and I want to take him down, so I will. That’s just a fact. Then No. 3, I don’t think he’s very good off his back and that makes for a really bad match-up for him.”
While their title fight is only a few days away, to hear Askren talk about Hieron, he doesn’t even really believe he deserves to be there. To get the title shot, Hieron beat Brent Weedman and Rick Hawn in back-to-back fights, both ending in very close decisions. Askren could argue he didn’t win either one.
“I think what irks me the most is how arrogant he’s being after his last two decisions, which a good majority of people think could have both went against him. I’ve heard a fair amount of people say Bellator fixes fights because Jay Hieron won his last two fights, and yet he’s so arrogant and thinks he’s better than these guys, but he should just be thanking his lucky stars that he got both those decisions.”
Askren has had some decisions in his career as well, but his issue with Hieron stems from the Xtreme Couture fighter’s apparent attitude after the victories.
“If I won two decisions that were that damn close, I’d be saying ‘you know what, I can’t let a fight be that close anymore.’ I’ve went to decisions, but if you watch all my fights, no one can debate who won the fight, it’s pretty stinking clear. That kind of rubs me the wrong way about him,” Askren said.
“When we fight, if I’m not able to finish him I’ll make it very, very clear who the winner is.”
Ultimately, however, no matter how close the decisions were, Askren is happy to face Hieron if for no better reason than to shut him up.
“I thought fighting Jay Hieron would be the best scenario for me,” said Askren. “Because No. 1, it’s definitely an easier fight than Rick Hawn would be for me, and No. 2, he’s going to open his mouth and allow me to showcase my trash talking skills and then I’m going to enjoy putting a beat down on him.”
Askren will try to back up those words when he meets Jay Hieron at Bellator 56 this weekend.