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Askren's To-Do List
Keep developing secondary and tertiary skills to supplement that dominant wrestling
Ben Askren is a wrestler—he will always be a wrestler—but the more he rounds the rest of his game, the more successful a mixed martial artist he will ultimately become.
While he has been able to defeat the best Bellator has to offer on a regular basis, eventually someone will come along who can thwart his style. That, or he will end up fighting in the UFC against a handful of fighters who will figure him out.
While Askren's wrestling is some of the best in MMA, in order to climb the ladder he needs to develop his striking and sweep defense, which he neglects, preferring to regroup during ensuing scrambles.
Decide whether or not he wants to care about what people think of him
Until his win over Douglas Lima, I was impressed with how Askren handled his critics. He knows what he needs to do to win fights and he does it, even when it bores fans half to death.
To me, there is something refreshing about a guy who throws away the machoisms attached to MMA, which dictate that if you don't close your eyes and swing for the fences, you are a sissy. I like that he wants to win above all else. I also like that he didn't care when people called him boring or one-dimensional.
But now, he is lashing out at fans and at the media, though he insists that he still doesn't care what they think. I don't believe him anymore.
You know who most utters the phrase "I don't care what people think?" It's people who care what other people think.
Either ignore it or fight it, but don't say you don't care and then whine about criticism.
Finish a fight
Because of his sensational wrestling, Ben Askren will control the majority of the fights he is in. However, the chances are higher that a competitor drops a bout that he controls for 14 minutes than one he ends in 30 seconds.
So far, grinding out decisions has worked, but to minimize the chances of faltering, Askren needs to figure out how to end a bout the fun way.