Michael Bisping always believed that Demian Maia would prove to be a tough matchup for Ben Askren.
This past Saturday, Askren returned to Singapore to meet Maia in a welterweight clash. The bout headlined UFC Singapore in Kallang. “Funky” was hoping to rebound from his record-setting knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal back in July. It didn’t pan out for him as he was submitted in the third round via rear-naked choke.
On the latest edition of his Believe You Me podcast, Bisping said that Askren was put in a rough spot with this bout.
“When I immediately saw the news that he was fighting Demian Maia, I thought, ‘man that’s not a good matchup for him,'” Michael Bisping said. “To come off getting knocked out so viciously, so you’re gonna have some psychological demons there. And then to go against a guy, Ben Askren everybody knows his game plan is to take you down, and Demian Maia wants to be on the ground. I’m like, ‘Woah that is a tough matchup.’ I respect his balls for taking that fight.”
Bisping went on to say that Maia was the worst possible fight for Askren to take, but he feels “Funky” can rebound against mid-tier fighters.
“There’s a lot of the roster he could beat,” Michael Bisping continued. “A lot of the roster that don’t have the takedown defense and certainly don’t have the jiu-jitsu of Demian Maia. So a lot of the mid-tier guys I think Askren could still beat. But then Demian Maia was always potentially the worst possible matchup in the UFC for him. Any high-level jiu-jitsu guy is a bad matchup for Askren. If you put him up against a striker that can’t wrestle too well, he’ll probably win that match all day long. Of course Masvidal proved that wrong, but still that was kind of a fluke occurrence. And I don’t mean fluke, I’m not discrediting the win. I’m saying I don’t think Masvidal would be able to pull that off [again]. I don’t think any striker that Askren wants to fight next would be able to pull that off so quickly and viciously. But I do feel there’s a lot of fights that he can win, but he just needs to step down a little bit. He needs to go to mid-card level against mid-tier competition and I think he’ll do just fine.”
Do you think Ben Askren can get back on the horse against mid-tier UFC welterweights?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/30/2019.