Over the course of the first five years of his career, ONE Championship welterweight titleholder Ben “Funky” Askren had one of the most consistent runs of anyone in MMA. Last year, however, was a different story.
Askren’s title defense against Luis Santos in April of 2015 ended in a first-round no-contest. Then a scheduled rematch in November was cancelled when Santos missed weight, leaving Askren without a win during a calendar year for the first time in his career.
“For my fighting career, 2015 sucked because I lost the year due to one particular opponent being a piece of crap,” Askren told MMAWeekly.com. “I am ready to have a much better 2016.”
While he’s primed to move on, Askren would face Santos again as long as there is a contingency plan in place.
In the year since he last stepped foot in the cage, Askren (14-0) feels he’s continued to develop his game and is eager to showcase his skills yet again when he defends his welterweight title against Nikolay Aleksakhin (17-3) in the main event of ONE’s April 15 show in Manila, Philippines.
“I feel like I have some really awesome new facets to display that nobody in MMA is doing,” said Askren. “I will dominate (Aleksakhin) using my style of MMA.”
After last year was something of a wash for Askren, he’s looking forward to getting back to consistency in 2016.
“I want to have three fights (this year),” Askren said. “I haven’t had more than two fights in a year since 2010 when I won the Bellator title. I am ready to get busy. I am just excited to fight.”