Bellator’s Nathan Coy “Disappointed” About Ben Askren’s Departure, Believes Douglas Lima Doesn’t Receive Enough Credit
By Kelsey Mowatt
Prior to making his Bellator debut last September, Nathan Coy relayed he had Ben Askren in his sights, despite the fact the welterweight champ was a free agent. Although there was considerable speculation that Askren might sign with the UFC, Coy was hopeful he’d return to Bellator, and a path to fighting the renowned wrestler would materialize. Askren, of course, ended up signing with ONE FC, and Coy evidently isn’t happy about it.
“Yeah, I absolutely wish Ben was still there,” Coy said on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, when asked to comment on Askren’s departure. “I was a little upset that he moved on to another organization. I think he would have done really well in Bellator, especially with what happened with him and the UFC. I think the best thing he could have done is fought for Bellator and made a big name for himself and the company.”
“I think you take a guy that’s top ten in the rankings, out of our organization now, that’s a disappointment,” added Coy, who is scheduled to fight UFC vet Paul Bradley on March 14th, after earning a decision win over Andy Uhrich at Bellator 101. “We’re fighting to be number one and it’s harder to get there without him being there…I’m definitely upset, a little disappointed he’s not there. I would have loved the opportunity to have fought him.”
In December, Askren signed a multi-fight deal with ONE FC, which is reportedly for six bouts over a two years. Askren will make his promotional debut in May, when he’ll challenge the winner of the March 14th, Brock Larson-Nobutatsu Suzuki fight for the ONE FC welterweight title.
“I think that’s one of the reasons I signed with Bellator too,” Coy furthered. “I really wanted to fight a high caliber fighter like him, but he’s not there now.”
Although there’s no question that Bellator lost one of its top fighters in Askren, Coy knows the promotion is still home to world class welterweights.
“(Douglas) Lima is very good too you know,” Coy noted about Lima, who has won four straight bouts via KO or TKO since he was decisioned by Askren in 2012. “I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. I think he could go into the UFC and do a lot of damage, and do well, with a few others.”
At the end of the day, many observers concluded that Askren wasn’t tabled an offer from the UFC, due to his wrestling based approach and stifling top game. UFC President Dana White argued at the time, however, that Askren hasn’t “fought anybody” and that he’s undeserving of a top ten ranking.
“I think he would have done very well in the UFC,” Coy said about Askren. “I think just based on heart and determination, and confidence, and that’s what Ben is known for. I think that alone, besides his skill set, I think that carries him very far in the UFC.”
“Of course his chin would be tested, but, in the UFC there’s a few guys that are very good, have an all around game, and I think that would bring out Ben’s skills more,” added Coy. “People don’t realize that. They think he’s going to get whupped on his feet in the UFC, but nobody really knows that because he goes to his dominating game every fight and he does it…he could do that with guys in the UFC.”
Stay tuned to Full Contact Fighter for another story with Coy where he discusses his upcoming, Bellator 112 bout with Bradley.