Douglas Lima on Ben Askren: “I don’t see any hunger in him when he steps in there”

Douglas Lima
Credit: Mike Straus

Douglas Lima is once again the Bellator MMA welterweight champion and is also $1 million richer after defeating Rory MacDonald at Bellator 232. It was a tough day road through the Welterweight World Grand Prix for Lima to get his title back and while he’s back at the top, a former opponent of his is seeing his career go in the opposite direction.

Back in 2012, after going on a three-fight winning streak to start his Bellator career, Lima would face then Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren for the championship, and it was “Funky” coming out victorious at Bellator 64.

Now that he is back on top in Bellator while Askren just suffered his second consecutive loss in the UFC and his career, Lima was asked about the difference in his former opponent. Speaking with Jimmy Smith on The Luke Thomas Show, Lima said he doesn’t see the hunger inside Ben Askren.

https://twitter.com/MMAonSiriusXM/status/1188958880937730049

“It’s crazy man, because he’s not old. He’s like 35. I noticed he just doesn’t look as good of in-shape like he was before. I don’t think I see any hunger in him when he steps in there. Yeah, man I think there’s definitely something missing.”

Despite the fact that things haven’t gone his way during his UFC tenure, Douglas Lima thinks Ben Askren can turn it around if he can find what he’s missing inside the cage.

“I think if he can pull it together, I’m sure he can still beat a lot of these guys. But right now there’s just something. He’s got to come back, sit down, and realize what it is, cause it just doesn’t seem like he’s very focused on the training. People are evolving, everybody’s getting good nowadays so there’s not going to be an easy fight nowhere.”

Realizing the evolution of fighters, including himself, Douglas Lima also took time to reflect back on his first fight against Askren, and he knows he’s improved since their 2012 meeting.

“I think that’s what I’m doing different, I’m just trying to get better, there’s always going to be somebody out there. So I get better on my striking, definitely working a lot more on my wrestling, a lot more. At that point, the time that we [Askren] fought, there was no way, I didn’t have the right wrestling, I didn’t have my right mentality to beat him in that fight. There’s no way I could have beat him back then. Nowadays of course, different story. I think I’ve matured a lot. I think it’s important, some losses helps you a lot more. He’s just got to figure everything out, sit down, and see what’s missing. He’s a killer, he’s a great fighter, just didn’t put it together.”

Although there are questions about the future of Ben Askren’s fighting career, Bellator President Scott Coker already has an opponent in mind for Douglas Lima’s next title defense.