Ben Askren: A Real Breath of Fresh Air for the UFC’s Welterweight Division

Ben Askren
UFC Milwaukee: Ben Askren back stage at the Firserv Forum Credit: Mike Straus Cageside Press

“Funky” Ben Askren made an appearance at this past weekend’s UFC Milwaukee (UFC on FOX 31) event, and the undefeated welterweight continued his verbal assault on the 170-pound division.

Love him or hate him “Funky” Ben Askren has finally made it to the big show. The major leagues of MMA, the UFC. It’s been a long time coming for Askren, who at 34 years old was enjoying retirement just two short months ago.

Askren enters a welterweight division that is a bit topsy-turvy. His good friend and college teammate Tyron Woodley is the man at the top of the heap. However, everyone else seems to be fair game for Askren, who has taken shots at damn near everyone.

Whether Askren is mocking “Marty” from Nebraska A.K.A Kamaru Usman or he is making fun of former interim champion Colby Covington’s MAGA gimmick, Askren is a breath of fresh air for the UFC and its millions of fans.

The knock on Askren has always been his style. People seem to think his outstanding wrestling and complete domination of opponents is boring. Perhaps “Funky” Ben was just ahead of his time.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, the current lightweight champion, imposes his will on his opponents, just like Askren. The difference is, fans laud Khabib for his achievements and Askren gets largely criticized for his performances.

Outside of the cage, Askren is just as dominant. He takes aim at every fighter regardless of weight class on social media and you must admit, “Funky” Ben is undefeated on the internet as well.

The fact that he has finally made it to the UFC is still surreal. UFC President Dana White has had a long and very public feud with Askren. It seems, however, that White is willing to let bygones be bygones for the sake of money. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not complaining. It’s hard not to be thrilled that the UFC finally has a fighter willing to speak his mind, even if it’s not a popular opinion.

Although Askren has offered to step up and face Covington and Usman, it looks as though he will still be making his official company debut at UFC 235 when he faces former welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler. Some MMA personalities, such as Chael Sonnen, have suggested that Lawler is but a pawn. And Dana White’s ultimate end game is to ruin Askren for all the old bad blood.

Whether or not that happens remains to be seen. Regardless, “Funky” Ben is in the UFC and he brings a much-needed breath of fresh air with him.