‘I Would Be Better Than Him’- Ben Askren Says Khabib Nurmagomedov Never Fought Any ‘High-Level’ Wrestlers

Published 11/21/2021, 8:54 AM EST
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 26: Ben Askren prepares to enter the Octagon prior to his welterweight bout against Demian Maia of Brazil during the UFC Fight Night event at Singapore Indoor Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Singapore. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Ben Askren is often regarded as one of the best wrestlers in mixed martial arts ever. He is a former Bellator and One Championship welterweight champion, and also fought in the UFC. He was undefeated in his career for over a decade before being dropped by Jorge Masvidal.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov is also one of the greatest grapplers in MMA history. The Dagestan native retired from the sport last year. He used to take his opponents to the ground and just maul them. ‘The Eagle’ retired undefeated with a 29-0 record. However, one fight that everyone wanted to see was between Ben Askren and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Many believe Askren would’ve caused Nurmagomedov some real problems on the ground with his level of wrestling. Askren was recently asked about it and he said, “We would grapple and I think I would be better than him. I feel weird saying it because people, like yeah, you’re full of s**t. But no one out grappled him, nobody did. Maybe I’m wrong in this but we look at the best possible candidates. I’m definitely one of them and obviously, I have a small size advantage too.”

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“He never, unfortunately, fought any real, who I would say really, really high-level wrestlers. I was actually really disappointed how bad Justin Gaethje’s wrestling was because Justin Gaethje had some solid success. But his wrestling was really bad in that fight… So yeah, I would like to see how he dealt with someone who I think, oh man, this guy’s a really high-level wrestler. I just love grappling and wrestling. If someone said, hey Ben, Khabib wants to roll with you. Ok, I’m there tomorrow. Sounds like a blast,” he added.

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Both men achieved great success in their careers, and mainly because of their grappling. ‘Funky‘ was undefeated for over a decade. He was 18-0-1 when he joined the UFC. In his first fight in the promotion, he submitted the former UFC welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler. He was a master at taking his opponents down and dominating them there. Askren was a two–time NCAA Division I national champion. Many people were excited about the idea of him and Nurmagomedov fighting one day, but that didn’t happen. He announced his retirement from the sport in 2019, after suffering two back-to-back defeats.

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‘The Eagle’ is one of the pioneers in the sport of MMA. He will always be regarded as one of the best to ever do it. The Russian fighter retired from the sport last year, after defeating the interim lightweight champion, Justin Gaethje. Nurmagomedov, throughout his MMA career, never looked in much trouble in any of the fights. He took on some of the biggest names in the sport, and just dominated them. The Dagestan native retired with a 29-0 record.

A fight between the two world-class grapplers in Askren and Nurmagomedov would’ve been a must-see fight. Joe Rogan, a few years ago, when Askren was just signed by the UFC, wanted this to see this fight. On his podcast, he said, “Here’s the fight, 165. Khabib, Ben Askren. Boom!”

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Would you have loved to see a fight between the two? What do you make claims made by Askren? Let us know in the comments!

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Arunaditya Aima

261 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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