Ben Askren Says Fighters Know Latest Win Was “Warning Shot” Of What Bellator Champ Can Do
Karl Amoussou Was “Not A Guy I Really Minded Punching In The Face”
By Kelsey Mowatt
While Andrey Koreshkov raised his stock considerably throughout the MMA world last year by winning Bellator’s welterweight tourney, the fighter will now have to face Ben Askren, at a time when the promotion’s champ has being doing the same. Not only is Askren coming off a victory over Karl Amoussou to record his eleventh straight win, but the decorated wrestler did so by stopping the resilient welterweight after three rounds.
For someone who has been criticized for not finishing fights, the win served as a one sided demonstration, that Askren continues to build on the world class grappling skills that have already made him a world champ.
“I’ve always said that it’s only a matter of time,” Askren noted on Full Contact Fighter Radio recently, while discussing his recent win over Amoussou, which saw the champion batter and bloody the challenger for three rounds with strikes from above. “People need to realize that I’m just going on four years of fighting. As far as being good at something, it takes a while. When I fought Douglas Lima I had been fighting for three years.”
Although Askren has already defeated accomplished vets like former Bellator champ Lyman Good, rising star Douglas Lima and UFC vet Jay Hieron since he turned pro in 2009, there has been no shortage of critics.
“People were kind of in a rush to criticize,” the former collegiate wrestling champ and Olympian furthered. “But when I joined Bellator I had literally been fighting for one year. I was totally knew to the sport, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I joined up because I knew I could fall back on my wrestling…so yeah; that is a warning shot. The thing is people know; the fans might not be realizing it and might bash me, but the fighter’s, they know.”
Despite the performance, which showcased a more effective ground-and-pound game, Askren doesn’t outright endorse the idea that it was his most impressive fight to date.
“I don’t think he was as quite as tough a competitor as Lima or Hieron,” Askren said about Amoussou, who defeated Chris Lozano, Dave Rickels and Bryan Baker last year to entrench a title shot. “But as far as my performance, I think I was right along the lines where I needed to be…It was a very similar performance to what I’ve done, but with that little tweak; there’s more power in the ground-and-pound and elbows.”
Adding significance to the win for Askren, of course, was the fact that Amoussou was also highly critical of the champion’s approach to fighting heading into their bout.
“He’s not a guy I really minded punching in the face,” said Askren, when asked if he thought the bout could have been stopped earlier. “So I wasn’t necessarily upset the ref let me keep doing it.”
“I think they thought about stopping it in the second round; the doctor let it continue, but I knew it was just a matter of time,” the 28 year-old furthered. “So I was just going to keep on hitting him.”
When asked if Amoussou deserved credit for not tapping out to Askren’s barrage from above, the Roufusport fighter added:
“Yeah, he didn’t tap but he didn’t necessarily fight back. In the second and third he kind of just laid on his back and let me punch him in his face as many times as I wanted to. So, I guess he’s not the weakest guy ever but I wouldn’t say he’s the toughest either.”
The upcoming Askren, Koreshkov bout has not been assigned a date or venue yet by Bellator.