Two opponents Ben Askren has repeatedly called out even before he was signed with the UFC are Georges St-Pierre and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion believes he has a superior ground game and that potential wins over the duo would cement him as the best fighter on the planet.
But what does the Division 1 All-American think of their wrestling?
“How’s his [St-Pierre] wrestling for wrestling? I don’t know. How’s his wrestling for MMA? Really, really freaking good,” Askren told Dan Hardy in an interview last month. “I think he has great timing. Like his timing on the punches into takedowns, you can argue that it’s the best ever.”
“I would argue that Khabib does a better job staying on top and certain other aspects of wrestling. But as far someone who uses punches into takedowns, there’s not a lot of people who are better than him at that, if any.”
Before St-Pierre’s recent retirement, it was previously rumored that he would be facing Nurmagomedov in a catchweight super fight. That’s not happening now of course, but if it did, Askren would lean towards the French-Canadian. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion.
“I would lean towards GSP for sure. The one thing that’s hard, if you watch GSP, he definitely gets tired and when he gets tired, he relies more on his ability to go get the takedown and hold them down and then they can’t do anything against him.”
“We’ve never seen him against someone who — you can say Josh Koscheck was a high-level wrestler — but Josh Koscheck didn’t always use his wrestling in MMA. He wasn’t like a Khabib or me who someone that uses a lot of wrestling. So we never got to see GSP versus that super high-level wrestler so it’s always curious to me how it would have turned out.”
Meanwhile, Askren believes he can still lure St-Pierre out of retirement provided he remains unbeaten and wins the welterweight title. In order to do that, he will need to get past Jorge Masvidal, who he is rumored to be facing next.
You can see the full interview below: