The UFC Welterweight Division Feels Incomplete Without Ben Askren

Ben Askren may feel like the kid that is always picked last for kick ball back in elementary school. The undefeated, two-time collegiate national champion has the resume that should be more than enough to have landed him a contract with the Ultimate Fi…

Ben Askren may feel like the kid that is always picked last for kick ball back in elementary school. The undefeated, two-time collegiate national champion has the resume that should be more than enough to have landed him a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Instead, the Wisconsin native is still competing outside of the Octagon. As he prepares for an opportunity to earn the second welterweight title of his career at ONE FC 19, Askren still stands as one of the most prominent names in the sport to have yet to compete in the Octagon.

Five years into his MMA career, Askren has been able to defeat every opponent that has been placed in his way. Ben is perhaps one of the best pure wrestlers that the sport of MMA has seen and his style does not apologize for such. Unfortunately for Askren, the way he wins bouts has not done him the biggest of favors when it comes to making fans in the sport. Even his former boss, Bjorn Rebney of Bellator, tried to undercut his former champion’s skills when it was clear that Askren was not returning to the promotion.

“What I was trying to say about Ben is what I’ve always said about Ben,” Rebney said to Mark La Monica of Newsday. “He is ridiculously one-dimensional. He just happens to be better at that one dimension than potentially anyone on Earth.”

These comments came after Askren decided not to sign with Bellator and pursue other opportunities that were available in the sport. In an interview with Steph Daniels of Bloody Elbow, Askren mentioned that he had multiple deals in place and after being unable to get a contract complete with the UFC he choose the most lucrative offer that was in front of him (via Bloody Elbow). However, comments from UFC President Dana White gave the impression that the interest in signing Askren may not have been as high as some would have expected coming out of Bellator.

“It doesn’t change anything,” White said to Steven Marrocco of MMA Junkie when asked of the UFC’s interest in Askren. “(We have) no interest. I’m sure (World Series of Fighting) will pick him up. They [Bellator] don’t want him. It’s their champion, and they don’t want him. What does that say?”

This led to Askren signing with ONE FC where he will face Nobutatsu Suzuki for the promotion’s welterweight title. When his deal is up with the organization, there is no telling what is next for the former Mizzou Tiger. However, he has made it clear that he believes that he should be in the UFC, competing with the best that the sport has to offer.

“The fact that I’m not in the UFC is almost ridiculous at this point,” Askren said in the interview with Daniels. “I kind of feel disrespected by it, and I don’t know that I’ll have a lot of motivation to go back in a couple of years and work for those people.”

It’s interesting that the UFC has taken a stance to not show interest in Askren when it has brought over other fighters that have even less experience. Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar and newly signed Henry Cejudo were all phenomenal athletes in other sports that the UFC signed to deals when they had less than 10 professional fights. Askren may not have the most exciting style that mainstream MMA fans have come to enjoy, but he poses an interesting matchup to any fighter ranked within the top 10 of the welterweight division. He also has shown a penchant for being able to promote himself beyond his competition in the cage which draws attention in different ways.

For now, Askren will have to focus on winning the One FC championship this weekend. If he is able to hoist another title above his head, this may pique the interest of the UFC once his deal is up. However, the 30-year-old athlete may be past his prime at that point and that will leave fight fans and experts only to wonder what could have been if the Ultimate Fighting Championship would have signed him to a deal earlier in his career.

 

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Get to Know UFC Newcomer Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo joins the growing lists of UFC competitors who are looking to add a title belt to their mantle that includes an Olympic medal. Scott Jorgensen will welcome Cejudo into the Octagon at UFC 177 and attempt to be the first man to add a blemish…

Henry Cejudo joins the growing lists of UFC competitors who are looking to add a title belt to their mantle that includes an Olympic medal. Scott Jorgensen will welcome Cejudo into the Octagon at UFC 177 and attempt to be the first man to add a blemish to the 27-year-old’s career. MMA fans should be interested in the debuting combatant who has the opportunity to add some excitement to the still-growing flyweight division.

In 2008 Henry Cejudo earned himself an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling to become the youngest American to ever earn the honor. He would attempt to continue his career in the world’s games but fell short in the 2012 Olympic Trials. After his final defeat he would remove his shoes and toss them into the crowd to signify that he was walking away from wrestling. At that point, he transitioned into mixed martial arts, where he has continued his winning ways. After six professional bouts he has been welcomed into the UFC with open arms.

“It feels good to be part of the UFC family finally,” Cejudo said to Thomas Gerbasi of the UFC.

Cejudo brings an interesting background story into the UFC that is quite different to that of other standout wrestlers. Unlike other big-name wrestlers in the sport, Cejudo did not take the traditional route in wrestling through collegiate mats before making it to the Olympics and mixed martial arts. As a high school wrestler Cejudo won four state titles. Instead of going to college to compete as most wrestlers do, Cejudo elected to train with USA Wrestling in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This training would help him build the abilities needed to reach the Olympic levels that he would see in his career.

Since his MMA debut in 2013 he has won six bouts and stopped the first four competitors that he faced. He won his last two bouts in Legacy Fighting Championship which brought the attention of not only the UFC but the World Wrestling Entertainment organization as well. Cejudo recently revealed that he had met with the WWE to discuss plans to bring him into the largest wrestling promotion in the world.

“It was something that was actually in the works,” Cejudo told Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. “One of their talent scouts saw me, met me and wanted to bring me in for an audition or whatnot. They had reached out to me and wanted to get a feel of it.”

However, Cejudo would instead sign with the UFC to join other Olympic medalists such as Ronda Rousey, Sara McMann, Yoel Romero and Matt Lindland to compete in the Octagon. His move didn’t shock many within the MMA world, but everyone did not express excitement over the development.

Former UFC competitor Damacio Page has released some harsh statements about Cejudo before his debut at UFC 177. Page was supposed to fight Cejudo at LFC 31 for the organization’s flyweight title but Cejudo pulled out of the bout for personal reasons as reported by Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog.com.

“His personal reason was that I was going to knock his [expletive] out,” Page told Critchfield in a follow-up interview with Sherdog. “Of course he’s gonna dodge me. Because I’m gonna hurt his value if he does get to fight me, and I knock him out. Then he’s not as marketable for the UFC.”

The stage is set at UFC 177 to welcome Henry Cejudo into the promotion’s 125-pound division. A victory over Scott Jorgensen will be a great way to kick off his run under the Zuffa banner for the former Olympic champion. The gold medalist has potential to be a force within the division but has a true test waiting for him on August 30.

 

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Benson Henderson and the 5 Best Fighters Fans Love to Hate

Being one of the best mixed martial artists on the face of the planet probably gets you a ticket into the UFC. 
Being one of the best mixed martial artists on the face of the planet doesn’t make you an automatic qualifier as a fan favorite, though…

Being one of the best mixed martial artists on the face of the planet probably gets you a ticket into the UFC. 

Being one of the best mixed martial artists on the face of the planet doesn’t make you an automatic qualifier as a fan favorite, though. 

If Brock Lesnar and Tito Ortiz proved anything in their illustrious fighting careers, it was that no matter how dominant they could possibly be, they always managed to rub a good portion of the MMA community the wrong way. Lesnar was hated because of his confidence. Ortiz was hated for his refusal to face the best.

They were champions, and they were woefully disliked. 

But if history tells us anything, even being respectful and willing to challenge the best available opponents still doesn’t grant you access into fans’ hearts.

Scroll on through the rest of the slideshow to see what top fighters fans love to hate. To limit the amount of fighters featured on the list, only those within the top five of their respective divisions will be considered. 

 

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Mein’s father banned from Fight Night after felony arrest

James Lee Mein, the father of UFC Fight Night Tulsa co-main event competitor Jordan Mein, will not be in his son’s corner after he was arrested on a felony sexual battery charge Friday afternoon by Tulsa police.
James Mein, 47, was released afte…

James Lee Mein, the father of UFC Fight Night Tulsa co-main event competitor Jordan Mein, will not be in his son’s corner after he was arrested on a felony sexual battery charge Friday afternoon by Tulsa police.
James Mein, 47, was released after posting $2,000 bond early Saturday morning. The elder Mein, who normally works the corner for his son during fights, is accused of engaging in felony sexual battery in connection with Hyatt Regency Hotel employee while she attempted to clean his room in the event’s host hotel, Tulsa police said.
UFC officials said James Mein would n … Read the Full Article Here

Does ‘Jacare’ Souza Leapfrog Luke Rockhold with a Win over Gegard Mousasi?

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has quietly placed himself into the upper echelon of the UFC’s middleweight division. However, he still isn’t the clear-cut favorite to be the next in line for a shot at the strap that is currently held by…

Ronaldo “JacareSouza has quietly placed himself into the upper echelon of the UFC’s middleweight division. However, he still isn’t the clear-cut favorite to be the next in line for a shot at the strap that is currently held by Chris Weidman. As he prepares to face Gegard Mousasi on September 5 the question has come up as to whether or not he should leap frog Luke Rockhold if he gets his hand raised at the end of the night. When comparing the two contenders and their potential impact in the spotlight, the answer to this question is a flat out “no” but the reasoning behind the decision is different than expected.

JacareSouza and Luke Rockhold have two careers that are closely linked to one another. Back in 2011 Rockhold defeated Souza to capture the Strikeforce middleweight title that he would hold until being brought over into the UFC. This would be the last fight that “Jacare” would lose and has put together six straight wins since that fateful night.

Now, both competitors are in the UFC’s 185-pound group and working hard to obtain a shot at the belt. The UFC rankings has Souza listed at No. 4 and Rockhold at No. 5. Souza is set for a rematch against former Dream champion Mousasi in a few weeks while Rockhold does not have a bout scheduled at this moment. “Jacare” is undefeated in three appearances in the Octagon while Luke has gone 2-1. These baseline facts would seem like “Jacare” is the clear cut favorite between the two, but diving deeper into the business of the situation would present a different answer.  

Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort are set to face off at UFC 181 in Las Vegas. The winner of that contest should be charged to face Luke Rockhold next. That doesn’t mean that “Jacare” is any less deserving, however this should be a business decision that the UFC makes to present the most interesting fight to the mixed martial arts community. While the UFC is the largest promotion in the MMA business, the importance of entertainment value does play a part in the fights that are made. This is the main reason why Rockhold should be considered the next in line, whether or not “Jacare” gets a win over the “Dreamcatcher” at UFC Fight Night.

Both Ronaldo and Luke have the in-cage abilities to put on exciting fights. Since coming to the UFC they have both stopped two of their three opponents in highlight-reel fashion. The decision as to who should get the next shot at the belt would be tough to make if basing it only upon how well they compete in the cage. Today’s sports-entertainment world places prominence on an individual’s ability to draw attention to their contests and that is where Rockhold stands out in front of Souza.

Rockhold has become one of the more outspoken competitors in the division. He’s been locked in verbal battle with individuals such as Michael Bisping and Belfort for the past few months. Recently, he went on record to question the validity of Belfort receiving another shot at the middleweight title.

“He got caught early for steroids in Nevada, got popped after this whole stint in Brazil. I owned up, I took my loss, no excuses,” Rockhold said as reported by Steven Marrocco of MMA Junkie. “But then he comes back, and the one time he tries to fight in the States, he fails the test. That right there, I’ve got no respect from him.”

That doesn’t mean that “Jacaredoesn’t know how to create a key sound bite when needed. His discussion about Gegard Mousasi with Combate.com (via Youtube) brought out the interesting quote that he was going to “annihilate” Mousasi and then challenge for the title. Fernando Arbex of Bloody Elbow translated the original conversation, which was in Portuguese, where Souza made a very interesting comment:

“Fighting him again it’s like just another fight. I’m ready to annihilate my opponent and have another victory in the UFC. I’m going to stop Mousasi. I’ve come to be undefeated in the UFC to loose for nobody,” Arbex reported via Bloody Elbow. “People have to keep believing in me because I’m going to be the champion of this division. But first I have to beat Mousasi to ask for something and after this fight I’ll ask for a title shot.”

While this is a great quote from the former Strikeforce champion, it would have had much more strength if delivered in English during a press event with the UFC.

Luke’s ability to grab the attention of North American fans at this time plays into his advantage of being the top contender once UFC 181 passes. If “Jacare” gets another win on September 5 he may be a step closer to getting a shot at the UFC’s middleweight belt. Yet, he should still be listed behind Luke due to the entertainment factor that the California native will bring into the Octagon.

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Brazil Report: Vitor Belfort Gives Baseball A Swing

The UFC Brasil team spent the week with Vitor Belfort in Miami. In between training sessions for his fight with Chris Weidman, Belfort gave baseball a try and showed that he is good in other sports as well.
The new season of the series ‘Vai que …

The UFC Brasil team spent the week with Vitor Belfort in Miami. In between training sessions for his fight with Chris Weidman, Belfort gave baseball a try and showed that he is good in other sports as well.
The new season of the series ‘Vai que cola’, aired on Multishow channel in Brazil, has a special appearance of Bruce Buffer, the voice of the UFC.Brazilians are crazy about his famous sentence “It’s time!”.
Camila Oliveira and Jhenny Andrade, the Brazilian octagon girls, were in Brasilia for the launch of UFC Fight Night Pezão vs. Arlovski. The muses f … Read the Full Article Here