Ben Askren seems completely unconcerned about the threats that his UFC 239 opponent Jorge Masvidal will be able to present to him this weekend.
And to be honest, he has every reason to be confident.
Unbeaten and relatively unscathed in his stellar career before joining the UFC, Askren’s first taste of major danger, of course, came during his UFC 235 showdown against Robbie Lawler – a bout that stands as one of the craziest fights of the year so far.
Ben was able to take home the win that time against all odds and now, he finds himself perhaps one big victory away from earning a shot at divisional champion Kamaru Usman.
Speaking to MMA Fighting in a recent interview, Askren explained how unimpressed he is with the skills of his upcoming Gamebred and how they stack up against his own.
“Going in to the fight with Masvidal, I thought [Darren] Till was going to win. Masvidal was already making excuses so I didn’t really think it was a good possibility of me fighting Masvidal but then when he won, they started looking around at opponents for me and “Wonderboy” [Stephen Thompson] lost [to Anthony Pettis] and Masvidal was the one that made the most sense.
“I just had to goad him into saying yes, which I did, and here we are.
“I think it’s pretty easy. He’s simple right? He’s got good hands but his wrestling’s not great. His jiu-jitsu’s not great. His strength is not great. His cardio’s not great. So when you break it down like that, it becomes pretty simple.
“To prove I’m the best in the world is the one goal I came back for because I was retired. I think this puts me closer to that.”
Masvidal has been attracting quite a bit of attention in recent times on the back of his phenomenal defeat of Darren Till at UFC London earlier this year – a win that truly established him within the upper echelons of the division once again.
His form since moving to the 170lb division has indeed been up and down but when he’s on form, the fluidity at which he is able to make his offense felt is truly a joy to behold.
Whether or not he can do what twenty men before him could not and defeat Ben Askren remains to be seen.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena