Jakarta. American grappler and mixed martial artist Ben Askren needed less than four years to win ONE Championship and become the biggest star in the constantly-growing world of martial arts.
In his May 2014 promotional debut at ONE Championship, Askren, or "Funky," defeated Bakhtiyar Abbasov with an arm-triangle choke. Three months later he won with Nobutatsu Suzuki in the first round and was decorated with the organization's welterweight crown.
In May, Askren had a spectacular first-round triumph over Malaysia's Agilan "The Alligator" Thani, keeping his immaculate record intact and the ONE Welterweight World Championship belt around his waist.
Askren as he has never lost a world title contest since outpointing Lyman Good for the Bellator welterweight belt in October 2010.
He made history when he unified Bellator's 170-pound's top prize with the ONE Welterweight World Championship with the August 2014 win over Suzuki.
"I've held two belts. I've never lost them, and I've held them for a combined six years, which is a very, very long championship reign by anyone's account," he said in a statement on Monday (28/08).
The 33-year-old American has been perfect in competition, amassing an immaculate professional record of 16-0.
"Sixteen is the number of times I've stepped in the cage, and I’ve never taken a loss. I think I am one of the best in the world, and I think it also says a lot about the consistency I bring. I bring a great performance every single time I step in the cage," Askren said.
In his eight-year run as a professional martial artist, Askren owns five submission victories and four knockout triumphs.
During his illustrious college wrestling stint, Askren won 87 matches in a row, which made him one of the best grapplers in the collegiate ranks.
Askren finished his collegiate wrestling career with a record of 153–8, with 91 of those victories coming by way of fall. Those 91 pins put him at third on the all-time NCAA Division I pins list.
Even though there are many combat practices in mixed martial arts, Askren stands firm on the notion that wrestling is the most vital discipline in the sport.
Wrestling has been often regarded as the best foundation in the sport as numerous wrestlers transitioned easily into the sport, including Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Daniel Cormier and Frankie Edgar.
"If you're going to ask a lot of the mixed martial artists, they're going to say that wrestling is the number one martial art to learn," said Askren, who is universally recognized as one of the best welterweights today and one of the best professional martial artists in the world.
The undefeated welterweight champion has been all over the globe, competing in the United States, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.
Since being part of the ONE Championship roster, Askren has travelled 108,000 kilometers for the promotion's blockbuster events.
"I really enjoy travelling. My trips to Asia have been a pleasure for me. I always enjoy seeing new cultures and learning new things," Askren said.
Askren will be entering a new territory on Sept. 2, to defend his title against Swedish contender Zebaztian "The Bandit" Kadestam in the main event of ONE Championship: Shanghai, which takes place at the 15,000-capacity Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.