Is Hendricks The Best Active Welterweight In All MMA? NO – Ben Askren Is
As Mixed Martial Arts continues to expand across the globe, the quest for the greatest fighter is always the question fans are looking to answer. The welterweight division in the UFC recently had a changing of the guards after long time champion Georges St.-Pierre retired opening up the opportunity for a new belt holder.
A grueling five-round battle between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler delivered a historic moment for the fans. The five-round war ended in a unanimous decision in favor of Hendricks. After the victory Hendricks improved his professional MMA record to 16-2.
Is Johny Hendricks the best MMA fighter in the welterweight division in the world? Hendricks has an impressive professional record at 16-2. Many will argue his loss to George St.-Pierre was flawed by the judges. His powerful hands and incredible wrestling skills will scare anyone who enters the cage with him.
While at Oklahoma State University, Hendricks was a four-time all-American. The Cowboy earned all-American honors his freshmen year after placing 5 in the 157-pound weight class in 2004. In 2005 and 2006, Hendricks soared through the NCAA national tournament on his way to a national title at the 165-pound weight class.
His senior year didn’t finish the way he would have liked after losing the lead in the third period to Mark Perry, Hendricks finished as the 2007 NCAA wrestling national championship Runner-up. The former Cowboy used his takedowns to seal the win against Lawler.
Will Hendricks remain at the top of the mountain? Is he the best welterweight in all of MMA?
The answer to this question is no. Johny Hendricks isn’t the best welterweight across all MMA platforms. Ben Askren is the best welterweight in the entire division throughout MMA.
Askren also comes from an extraordinary collegiate wrestling career. The Wisconsin native recently signed with One Fighting Championship and will be taking his perfect record of 12 wins overseas to Asia. While in Bellator Askren ran through the competition racking up three wins by TKO, three victories by submission and overwhelmed six other opponents on his way to decision victories.
The former United States Olympic wrestler only began training MMA in 2009. While rapidly growing as an MMA fighter inside the cage, the Roufusport fighter won Bellator season 2. After a unanimous decision over Lyman Good, Askren was crowned as the Bellator Welterweight champion.
After winning the title he successfully defended his belt four more times. The president of the UFC, Dana White made the biggest mistake of his career. Not signing Askren he’s not delivering the fans the best fighters to compete in the UFC.
Askren is knocked by critics for his “boring” fights. Wrestling is a martial art that he happens to be the best at. The 2008 Beijing Games competitor built a historic wrestling career while at Missouri. The former Tiger is one of only three people to win the Dan Hodge Trophy twice. The Dan Hodge Trophy is equivalent to the Heisman Trophy.
The Missouri Tiger reached the NCAA national championship finals all four years of his college career, walking away with two national titles. He shattered the record books with 93 falls. Askren is ranked in the Top 10 of all-time wrestlers in NCAA history.
If these two fighters were to ever meet inside a cage, it will turn into a wrestling match and Askren will win. The Roufusport fighter sticks to his game plan and wears out his opponents. Hendricks will be looking to throw his thunder fists hoping for a homerun. While the UFC champion is launching his powerful left hand, Askren will stick to his game plan taking down the former Cowboy. Once the former Olympian is on top, don’t expect Hendricks to escape too easily.
It would be an interesting matchup between two athletes that come from similar backgrounds and would be truly a display of the best grapplers in all of MMA. I personally believe that Askren would submit the UFC champion in a bout between the two excellent fighters.
Askren will square up against Azerbaijani prospect Bakhtiyar Abbasov in the main event of One FC’s May 30 card in Singapore. Johny Hendricks is waiting to be notified who his next opponent will be inside the cage for his first title defense.
Kyle Carroll is a Long Island, N.Y. native and avid MMA and amateur wrestling fan. He has been a part of the wrestling community for nearly 20 years. Carroll has six years of experience coaching high school wrestling. His father coached high school wrestling over 35 years, passing on his strong knowledge. Carroll has been reporting MMA news since January 2011. The former wrestler’s coverage includes the 2012 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials, 2013 & 2016 NCAA D1 Wrestling Championship, and numerous MMA events (Bellator MMA, King of the Cage, North American Fighting Championship, and Glory).