MMA: Ex-Bellator champ Ben Askren makes KL top choice for next fight

MMA: Ex-Bellator champ Ben Askren makes KL top choice for next fight
ASKREN: I can't wait to beat Luis Santos and I think the Malaysian fans would appreciate the fight. - AFP Photo/ Tang Chhin
KUALA LUMPUR: ONE Championship fighter 'Funky' Ben Askren needs no introduction in mixed martial arts (MMA), but who would have thought the former Bellator welterweight champion had chosen Kuala Lumpur as the top choice for his next fight.

According to ONE Championship, Askren has even been making requests to do so, should there be a rematch against him and Brazilian contender, Luis Santos.

“I’ve fought in a few cities in Asia but I haven’t fought in KL before – so I really want to as I want to fight in as many Asian countries as possible.

"I really enjoyed my visit to Kuala Lumpur during my press tour last year," he said in an interview with Astro AWANI recently.

The 31-year-old American wrestler also said that KL would be a great place for him to bring his family.
He admitted that he fell in love with the modernness of the city after visiting the Petronas Twin Towers and Putrajaya.

"If I get to fight in Kuala Lumpur, I am hoping I can explore the city further. I’d also love to bring my family, especially my wife here to Kuala Lumpur because I find the city is very modern which she will really like,” said the enthusiastic Askren.

According to Askren, he once did a five-city tour open workout and Malaysia stood out because it had a very united MMA community - thanks to the emergence of the country's amateur MMA tournament - the Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts Fighting Championship (MIMMA).

Besides that, Askren also said that he would love to check out the MMA gyms in the city, as they offer various martial arts styles including Sambo, a form of Russian wrestling and Judo.

“MMA is growing so fast in Malaysia and I heard that there are so many interesting MMA gyms in town.

"I would personally want to go and explore and see what the local gyms have to offer," he said.

He also admired the fans in Malaysia as they seem "knowledgeable and into the action", plus he wouldn't want to miss the MIMMA season 3 grand finals which is set to take place in October.

"That’s also one reason why I’d really like to fight in KL, so that I stay on after my fight to watch that!” he said.

Apart from Bellator, Askren is also a two-time NCAA Division-1 champion, well known for his exceptional wrestling skill, and has been making huge waves in Asia since signing on with ONE Chamionship - Asia’s largest Mixed Martial Arts organisation.

He is expected to take part in a rematch with Santos after the bout was ruled as a 'no contest' due to the controversial 'eye-poke' that Askren accidentally did on Santos in round 1.

Commenting about the much anticipated fight, he said," I can’t wait to beat Santos and I think the Malaysian fans would appreciate the fight!"