Ben Askren's Defensive Mastery: Countering the Single Leg Takedown
Ben Askren, renowned for his exceptional wrestling skills, showcased not only an offensive arsenal but also a formidable defense that became a hallmark of his illustrious career. Among the many defensive maneuvers in his repertoire, Askren's proficiency in countering the single leg takedown stood out as a testament to his technical prowess and strategic acumen.
Sprawling with Precision
Askren's defensive strategy against the single leg often began with a lightning-fast sprawl. The moment an opponent initiated the single leg attempt, Askren seamlessly executed a sprawl—shooting his hips back and down while sprawling his legs backward. This rapid and precise movement widened his base, making it incredibly challenging for opponents to secure the takedown.
Utilizing the Whizzer
The Whizzer, a key component of Askren's defensive toolkit, involved overhooking the arm on the side the opponent was attacking. Applying downward pressure on the opponent's shoulder, Askren effectively thwarted their efforts to lift his leg and disrupt his balance. The Whizzer became a go-to move for Askren, turning what seemed like an imminent takedown into an opportunity for a counterattack.
Down Blocks with Finesse
Another facet of Askren's defensive brilliance was the down block. When opponents aimed to penetrate and secure the single leg, Askren responded with a well-timed down block. By using his lead hand to push down on the opponent's head while simultaneously stepping back with the lead leg, Askren disrupted their setup and denied them the position needed for a successful takedown.
Askren's defensive approach extended beyond static techniques. He excelled in creating scrambles, turning the chaos of a single leg attempt into an advantageous position for himself. As opponents committed to the takedown, Askren's ability to fluidly transition and capitalize on openings showcased his wrestling IQ and adaptability.
Maintaining Impeccable Stance
Fundamental to Askren's defense was his commitment to maintaining a solid wrestling stance. By staying low and balanced, with weight evenly distributed on both legs, Askren made it challenging for opponents to initiate successful single leg attacks. His disciplined stance served as the foundation for his defensive wizardry.
Background Of Ben Askren
Born on July 18, 1984, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ben Askren's journey to becoming a household name in the world of combat sports began with a foundation rooted in wrestling excellence. From his early days in the wrestling rooms of his hometown to the national and international stages, Askren's background shaped him into one of the most formidable wrestlers and mixed martial artists of his generation.
Collegiate Wrestling Glory
Ben Askren's ascent to wrestling greatness took a significant leap during his collegiate years at the University of Missouri. Competing for the Mizzou Tigers from 2003 to 2007, Askren left an indelible mark on the wrestling community. His collegiate career was nothing short of spectacular, characterized by an unmatched work ethic, unorthodox style, and an insatiable drive for success.
Askren's list of achievements at the collegiate level is impressive:
Two-Time NCAA Champion (2006, 2007):
Askren claimed back-to-back NCAA Division I championships in 2006 and 2007, dominating the 174-pound weight class. His victories showcased not only technical proficiency but an unyielding competitive spirit.
Undefeated Senior Season (2006-2007):
In his senior season, Askren achieved perfection with a flawless 45-0 record. This undefeated streak solidified his status as one of the most dominant wrestlers in NCAA history.
Two-Time Winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy:
Awarded the prestigious Dan Hodge Trophy in both 2006 and 2007, Askren was recognized as the most outstanding collegiate wrestler in the nation. The Hodge Trophy is a testament to his overall excellence and dominance on the mat.
Olympic Aspirations and Transition to MMA
Post-college, Ben Askren harbored aspirations of competing at the highest level, eyeing a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. However, the path to the Olympics proved challenging, leading Askren to pivot towards a new challenge—mixed martial arts (MMA).
In MMA, Askren seamlessly transitioned his wrestling prowess into a successful career. Known for his relentless style and ground control, he became a dominant force in organizations like Bellator and ONE Championship.
Legacy Beyond the Mat
Beyond his achievements in competition, Ben Askren's legacy extends to his impact on the wrestling community. His unorthodox approach to the sport, paired with an unwavering commitment to excellence, has inspired a new generation of wrestlers to push boundaries and explore the full potential of their abilities.
Today, Ben Askren's name resonates not only in wrestling but also in the broader realm of combat sports. His background, forged in the crucible of collegiate wrestling excellence, laid the groundwork for a career marked by achievement, resilience, and an enduring passion for the sport.