At Saturday’s UFC Singapore card, Demian Maia and Ben Askren were looking to prove who was the best grappler in the UFC’s welterweight division. Maia is the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace while Askren is a former Olympic wrestler and All-American.
This time around, jiu jitsu trumped wrestling, as Demian Maia submitted Ben Askren in the third round. It was the Brazilian’s third-straight win while “Funky” has now lost two in a row and is just 1-2 in the UFC arriving in the promotion.
Following the fight, here is what we think should be next for Demian Maia and Ben Askren.
Demian Maia is 41 years old and will most likely not get a title shot again, especially after three dominant losses to Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman. But the Brazilian has proved he is a top-10 welterweight in his past three fights.
Although three wins in a row should get him a higher-ranked opponent, that most likely won’t happen. Instead, Demian Maia should face Diego Sanchez, a fight he called for after this win. The two are legends of the sport and have yet to face each other, while both have called for the scrap to happen.
The fight could headline or co-headline a fight night card and serve as an interesting fight between a submission machine and a guy who has never been submitted in Sanchez.
Ben Askren’s hype train may be over. “Funky” came into the UFC wanting to prove he is the best welterweight alive, but he has been unable to do that so far. Since joining the UFC, he’s had a controversial win over Robbie Lawler then a five-second knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal, followed by this loss to Demian Maia. There is no question if he wants to keep fighting ranked opponents, Funky needs to win his next fight.
A logical next opponent would be Gilbert Burns, who has called for the bout and has been on a roll with two short-notice welterweight wins. Burns, who is now ranked in the welterweight top-15, has claimed he is a better grappler than Askren and has a shot to prove it here. For Askren, a loss would most likely end his time in the Las Vegas-based promotion so a win is a must.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/28/2019.