Ben Askren is a folkstyle and freestyle wrestler who represented Team USA at the Beijing Summer Olympics (2008), after an incredible collegiate career in which he conquered two NCAA titles for the Missouri Tigers (2006, 2007) and two runner-up placements (2004, 2005), later being inducted to the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame (2012). When on the mats, Askren was well known for his unique style of grappling, a style labeled "funky" by the specialist media, one which Ben explained in detail in his Wrestling Fanatics instructional - “Ultimate Askren Wrestling by Ben Askren”. After retiring his singlet, Askren turned to mixed martial arts (MMA) where he held titles in two major fighting promotions, namely Bellator and ONE Fighting Championship.
Ben Askren Wrestling
- 1st Place WIAA Wisconsin State Championship (2000, 2001)
- 2nd Place WIAA Wisconsin State Championship (1999)
- Qualifier WIAA Wisconsin State Championship (2002)
- NCAA All American (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
- 1st Place NCAA Championships (2006, 2007)
- 1st Place Big 12 Championships (2006, 2007)
- 2nd Place NCAA Championships (2004, 2005)
- 2nd Place Big 12 Championships (2004, 2005)
Team USA Olympian (2008 Beijing Olympic Games)
- 1st Place Pan American Championships (2005)
- 1st Place US Nationals (2008)
- 1st Place FILA World Championships, Grappling (2009)
- 174 lbs (College)
- 84 kg (Senior)
- Arrowhead (high school)
- University of Missouri Tigers (College)
- Askren Wrestling Academy (Coaching)
Ben Askren Biography
Benjamin Michael Askren was born on July 18, 1984, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States, growing up in Hartland, Wisconsin.
Askren was introduced to wrestling by his father when he was six years old, however, there were not a lot of kids his age to practice with or compete against at the time. As such, he only started taking the sport seriously during sixth grade after he joined a kids wrestling club.
The raised interest in the sport was also heavily influenced by the club's coach, a friend of Ben's family named Dale Borchard who became a mentor to the young athlete. Dale traveled with Askren around the state for competitions alongside Borchard's son, also a wrestler.
Ben's love for the sport led his father, Chuck Askren, to spend $5,000 on a wrestling workout facility built in the family's home basement. The room paid dividends when Askren reached high school and dominated his weight class at a state level.
When Ben moved to Columbia, Missouri in 2002, Chuck followed the same system, building a workout room in their new house. This extra push allied with Askren's natural talent would have a strong influence on the young American's success in college, playing for the University of Missouri.
Wrestling in the 174 lbs weight class during his collegiate career, Ben's lanky frame contrasted with the short and stocky traditional wrestling body type, a physique that helped him develop his now-famous Funky Style. A style heavily reliant on pins and scrambles.
This approach allied with his personality made of Askren one of the most popular faces in folkstyle wrestling, a level of attention he backed up on the mats by placing himself among the most successful athletes in collegiate history, setting several records for the Tigers and finishing his career there with 91 pins and an 87 match winning streak.
Like many other high-level folkstyle athletes before him, Askren transitioned to freestyle after college, winning a spot on Team USA for the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008.
After this experience at the senior level, Ben started focussing on MMA and unsurprisingly had fantastic success there as well. Askren made his cage-fighting debut in 2009 and went undefeated for 10 years competing in the top MMA promotions of his time, namely Bellator, One FC, and the UFC, reaching welterweight champion status in two out of the three brands, finally retiring from the sport by the end of 2019, with a record of 19-2-1.Ben Askren Sprawling Tutorial