Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren will defend his title this weekend for the first time since winning it a year ago when he faces Jay Hieron at Bellator 56. However, while Hieron might hold an overall record of 22-4 with past wins over Jason High, Pat Healy, and Jake Ellenberger, Askren is not only supremely confident in his ability to exit the event with a victory but appears to have very little respect for the Xtreme Couture competitor in general.
Askren recently unloaded on Hieron during a conversation with MMAWeekly Radio where he questioned the New Yorker’s skillset and attitude in the wake of earning the title-shot through a pair of questionable decisions.
“I think this is going to be very one-sided,” Askren began before citing Hieron’s suspect conditioning and ability on the mat. “He’s got decent wrestling, but if I want to take him down, I’m going to take him down, and I want to take him down, so I will. That’s just a fact.”
“I think what irks me the most is how arrogant he’s being after his last two decisions, which a good majority of people think could have both went against him,” the 27-year old continued.” I’ve heard a fair amount of people say Bellator fixes fights because Jay Hieron won his last two fights, and yet he’s so arrogant and thinks he’s better than these guys, but he should just be thanking his lucky stars that he got both those decisions.”
The outcomes in question relate to Hieron’s hotly-contested outpointing of Brent Weedman at Bellator 40 and subsequent Split Decision, a far more eyebrow-raising result, against Rick Hawn this past May.
“When we fight, if I’m not able to finish him I’ll make it very, very clear who the winner is,” Askren concluded.
“Funky” is 8-0 thus far in his MMA career since a storied run as an amateur/Olympic wrestler with victories in Bellator over Dan Hornbuckle, Lyman Good, and most recently Nick Thompson.
PHOTO CREDIT – BELLATOR
MMATraining Take: I felt Hieron’s win over Hawn was extremely shady but I can’t say I’m with Askren in terms of feeling as though he’ll breeze through “The Thoroughbred”. Hieron is more-rounded than Askren and there’s no doubt in my mind 99% of his camp for Askren focused on takedown defense and getting up from his back.