Former Olympic wrestler Ben Askren is 29 years old, 11-0 as a professional mixed martial artist and reasonably happy with his relationship with Bellator where he holds the Welterweight title. He spoke to Damon Martin recently and was open with his thoughts on the promotion:
"Honestly it's been pretty good. They gave me a shot, I was 3-0, I had three fights and no one else was giving me a shot at that point. That was back when Strikeforce was obviously still in full swing at that point. Obviously, I'm grateful for that," Askren said. "I was able to go in there and win the tournament and get a title shot, and I had been fighting for a year and three months. That doesn't happen very often.
"Now that I've been in mixed martial arts a little longer, I'm 28, going to be 29 next week it's like okay let's get these fights popping off. I was kind of annoyed by this one because they were saying maybe you'll get to fight in April and then they said maybe June, and then they pushed it all the way back to July 31. It's been more than six months since the day of my last fight, so I would like to be fighting more often.
"I'm happy where I'm at. There's going to come a point before too long where I'm going to have to renegotiate my contract, and we'll see how that all goes," Askren stated. "That will be a big determiner, is Bellator going to treat me right and treat me the way I should be treated, or are they going to try to pull a fast one on me? That is yet to be seen so I guess we'll find out."
"Andrey Koreshkov is not well rounded, he's been taken down and mounted and has his back taken by Lyman Good, which tells me he's a terrible grappler. He isn't well rounded. He's a good striker, but that's it," Askren said. "I fight with good strikers every day. Is he as good as Anthony Pettis' striking? No, it's not even close and he's probably not as good as Anthony Pettis is on the ground either.
"He's going to get taken down right away and he's going to get beaten up. There's not really anything he can do about it."
Bellator 97 takes place tomorrow July 31 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The preliminaries air on Spike.com starting at 5:30PM ET. The main card airs on Spike TV beginning at 7PM ET.