Former Bellator Champ Ben Askren Joins Evolve MMA Fight Team, Spurring One FC Rumors

December 1, 2013
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Ben AskrenRecently released undefeated Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren has been dominating the headlines recently as fight fans wait to see which promotion snaps him up. We still don’t know where the 29-year-old will fight next, but Evolve MMA has announced that Askren has joined its team.

Askren is a two-time NCAA Division One champion who also won a gold medal at the grappling world championships in 2009. With his 12-0 record, he is universally recognized as being one of the best welterweights in the world and was expected to be an immediate contender for the UFC welterweight belt, but UFC president Dana White surprised many in the MMA world by proclaiming he wasn’t interested.

He will be joining the top professional fight team in Asia and will be training alongside ONE FC lightweight world champion Shinya Aoki, UFC lightweight contender Rafael dos Anjos and a number of other world-class fighters including UFC fighter Leandro Issa, and ONE FC fighters Eddie Ng, Leandro Ataides, Jake Butler, Bruno Pucci, and many others.

Evolve MMA owner Chatri Sityodtong said he was honored to welcome Askren to the Evolve MMA Fight Team.

“I believe that Ben is one of the best welterweights in the world and it is a fantastic opportunity for our existing fighters on the Evolve Fight Team to learn from Ben, and for Ben to train under the most decorated team of world champion instructors in the world.  Duke Roufus is one of the world’s best MMA coaches and we will be working together to unlock Ben Askren’s potential. Evolve MMA will be another critical resource in Ben’s quest to become the best in the world,” he said.

Askren had a meeting with the UFC on Monday, but White has stated that he prefer Askren, despite his unblemished record, fight elsewhere for the time being.

Askren already had a contract offer on the table from World Series of Fighting, but his decision to join the Evolve Fight Team will only intensify rumors that he could follow in the footsteps of Bibiano Fernandes and Shinya Aoki by signing with Asia’s biggest MMA promotion, ONE FC.

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  • Tyme_5

    Wow, didn’t even consider that possibility, but it makes sense. One FC can afford to toss a big contract his way and if the UFC isn’t going to sign him there is no reason for him not to go where the most money is right now.

  • Jay Mcgarrity

    Good move for Ben, did anyone see that coming? Everyone was talking about WSOF as his only viable option if Dana continued to be a prick and this one beats the hell out of WSOF for him.

    • Wolf Ticket

      I didn’t even know One FC has welterweight division :). But seriously, who is he gonna fight there?

      • Jay Mcgarrity

        Yea, I don’t really follow One FC aside from a couple of guys over there and just saw an article on here about Phil Baroni who I believe is at WW. I imagine they are picking Askren up to be the WW champ and give some more credibility to the organization. With how poorly the UFC has treated Askren, hopefully he can increase his worth over at One FC to pick up a much better deal if/when he does move to the UFC. Askren genuinely seems to just want to fight the best, it’s a shame that he isn’t being given that opportunity.

        • bajafox

          One FC beats the hell out of WSOF yet you admit you don’t know much about them?

          • Jay Mcgarrity

            I watch UFC and Bellator plus select fights from WSOF, ONE FC, and Invicta as far as MMA goes. I don’t really follow WSOF much either, is that a problem for you? I take it I won’t be receiving my invite to the anonymous cool kids of mmaweekly troll club anytime soon? That’s a shame because I was really looking forward to being the lucky 1,000th person to talk about how bad of a person Ronda Rousey is.

          • bajafox

            You come on here like a know it all and contradict yourself. I was just looking for clarification. If you can’t handle some criticism without name calling, this isn’t the site for you

          • Jay Mcgarrity

            I rarely contradict myself and if I do it’s over a long period of time due to new found information or a change in opinion on a subject matter for other reasons. I never claimed to be a “know it all” nor did I call you any bad names in my reply. I also did not contradict myself but feel free to point out where you think I did and I can tell you why you’re wrong. Don’t get it twisted, facts over fiction.

          • bajafox

            “I rarely contradict myself”

            How would you know unless someone points it out? lol

          • Jay Mcgarrity

            I just said exactly how retard, due to a change of opinion from new found information or a number of several other reasons.

            For instance, I made a post about Jon Jones a couple years back saying that I had no respect for the guy. He was cocky, arrogant, drunk driving with no real remorse, definitely not championship material. After the Gus fight I gained respect for him for being able to endure the punishment and come back in the fight. I still question him as a person but those are 2 slightly contradicting statements to people like yourself who like to take every single word literally when you come on here trolling.

  • Eugene Park

    Ben askren was a world champion in no-gi grappling in 2009, not wrestling. Please stop using wikipedia for your sources.

  • David Huenecke

    Is it really that hard to find a decent picture of ben?

  • Shred Man

    It’s really too bad Dana doesn’t want to sign him. Look at all of the nobody’s that are in each UFC and they don’t want an undefeated champion with all of his grappling credentials??? That’s a bummer. I really wanted to see how he would do there.

  • letitbe

    Nothing is official. Joining an mma team differs from joining an mma organization. Because he is predominantly a grabler, he needs to learn the stand-up game, which the Elvove team have in abundance. If One FC and himself comes to an agreement, then it’s actually benefit him more because the One FC rules won’t allow a fighter to relies on their grappling alone. They would get soccer kicks, stomps, knees to the face etc. In a way, this would propel him to become a better fighter and in doing so more entertaining; simply you can’t rely on your own ground game at all time. No matter how good a fighter is, no one wants to see a boring fighter or one on the ground for long period. I personally think it’s better for him to join One FC if he intends to exel himself and test himself both ground and standout. It wouldn’t do him any harm image wise, money wise and profile wise.

  • Booker T

    I don’t really like to watch wrestling but Ben is special. He is always busy. He is probably the best wrestler I’ve ever seen in the octagon bar none. Wish Dana would have given him a shot,

  • paul berry

    This is strange, and makes me lose much respect for bellator, this
    release stems from Askren calling the Russian fighter he last fought a
    Commie! While watching Bellator you see the Russians saying American
    fighters are nothing, and Askren stated after he received a few boo’s
    that would they rather have a commie win, and then the owner of
    bellator, {whose name escapes me, but he more and more wants headlines
    like dana white} rushed into the ring and put his finger in Askrens
    face, on world wide television! But when he hears russians speak of
    america and its fighters he rushes in and says nothing! Politically
    correctness again gone amock! Askren deserves much better treatment than
    this! So dana and whats his name again have showed their butts! For
    evidence the Worlds Greatest Champion prepares earth for His retaking of
    it, and giving it to the meek inheritors, go to Adam and Eve seed
    gathering Ministry and on the prophecy and the signs page, the signs
    which were posted over four years ago, and are the likes of the Japan
    quakes/Virginia/Washington DC quakes/oklahoma quakes, and the Record Sun
    Disturbances! Also go to the site of Adam and Eve in Action, their
    mission is complete blog, {both sites found at most search engines}
    therein undeniable evidences of the Mighty Champion of the UNIVERSE
    news each week…. It Has Begun

  • George Burkhardt

    ben is ufc materail imo, dana should let ben fight condit or someone in top 10, if ben losses than dana can boot him, if ben wins then throw him another guy like lawler or rory, if he beats them give him title shot period

  • Ed

    Ben Askren sucks…stick to the minor leagues bum cause no one wants to see you dry hump and hold guys down for 3 rounds.