Recently released undefeated Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren has been dominating the headlines recently as fight fans wait to see which promotion snaps him up. We still don’t know where the 29-year-old will fight next, but Evolve MMA has announced that Askren has joined its team.
Askren is a two-time NCAA Division One champion who also won a gold medal at the wrestling world championships in 2009. With his 12-0 record, he is universally recognized as being one of the best welterweights in the world and was expected to be an immediate contender for the UFC welterweight belt, but UFC president Dana White surprised many in the MMA world by proclaiming he wasn’t interested.
He will be joining the top professional fight team in Asia and will be training alongside ONE FC lightweight world champion Shinya Aoki, UFC lightweight contender Rafael dos Anjos and a number of other world-class fighters including UFC fighter Leandro Issa, and ONE FC fighters Eddie Ng, Leandro Ataides, Jake Butler, Bruno Pucci, and many others.
Evolve MMA owner Chatri Sityodtong said he was honored to welcome Askren to the Evolve MMA Fight Team.
“I believe that Ben is one of the best welterweights in the world and it is a fantastic opportunity for our existing fighters on the Evolve Fight Team to learn from Ben, and for Ben to train under the most decorated team of world champion instructors in the world. Duke Roufus is one of the world's best MMA coaches and we will be working together to unlock Ben Askren's potential. Evolve MMA will be another critical resource in Ben's quest to become the best in the world,” he said.
Askren had a meeting with the UFC on Monday, but White has stated that he prefer Askren, despite his unblemished record, fight elsewhere for the time being.
Askren already had a contract offer on the table from World Series of Fighting, but his decision to join the Evolve Fight Team will only intensify rumors that he could follow in the footsteps of Bibiano Fernandes and Shinya Aoki by signing with Asia’s biggest MMA promotion, ONE FC.
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