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Thread: Ben Askren

  1. #1
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    Ben Askren

    Another Olympian like Ishii, although not a medalist.

    Olympic Wrestler Ben Askren Tries MMA
    Michael David Smith Posted Nov 4th 2008 11:54AM

    In the latest sign that mixed martial arts is attracting an increasing number of world-class athletes, the Olympic wrestler Ben Askren has decided to turn pro in MMA.

    Askren won two NCAA wrestling championships at Missouri and is one of only two two-time winners of the Dan Hodge Trophy, which is the wrestling equivalent of the Heisman. He then made the U.S. Olympic wrestling team and reached the quarterfinals in his weight class in Beijing.

    Now Mike Chiappetta of NBC Sports reports that he's working with American Top Team and plans to make his MMA debut in early 2009.

    "Obviously his pedigree and his base is tremendous," said American Top Team general manager Richie Guerriero. "Not only his wrestling base, but his work ethic, his history of competition and mental mindset. He brings more than just a wrestling base to the sport. It's not something you can teach. He's been a competitive athlete since a kid, and the mental aspect is a big part of the sport of MMA."

    It's not yet known which MMA promotion will sign Askren, but he'll be a highly sought prospect. He's the second significant Olympian to announce his intentions to become a professional MMA fighter recently, following on the heels of Japanese judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii, who is likely to start fighting for Dream in 2009.
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  2. #2
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    gotta go where the money is...no money in Olympic sports in general...Phelps being the exception recently.

    I wonder which discipline has had more crossovers, wrestling or judo?
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    More on Ben

    Askren will be really fascinating if he does ok in MMA and then goes to the Olympics in 2012.

    MMA: '08 Olympian, two-time NCAA champ Ben Askren joins ATT of Coconut Creek
    Sharon Robb | Sports Columnist
    December 21, 2008

    With the same never-back-down attitude that helped him become the nation's top collegiate wrestler and 2008 Olympian, Ben Askren is focusing on a mixed martial arts pro career.

    At 24, Askren brings an impressive wrestling resume and loads of personality to American Top Team Coconut Creek, where he recently signed a three-year contract. He will fight at 170 pounds.

    For the past week he has been working alongside some of the world's top fighters, including reigning WEC champion Mike Brown and UFC star Thiago Alves.

    His pedigree in wrestling includes two NCAA titles and two Dan Hodge trophies as the top collegiate wrestler while at the University of Missouri. He has a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

    His main focus is on striking with ATT boxing coach and 1976 Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr. and former UFC fighter Din Thomas, of ATT Port St. Lucie.

    "He definitely likes it," said ATT General Manager Richie Guerriero, who oversees 52 fighters, including 15 with UFC or WEC contracts. "He loves the training. He's in great shape and he is used to that competition mind-set. He's not so star struck. He has a quiet confidence and ****iness about him, which is pretty cool.

    "He's young enough where he can give the Olympics another shot in 2012 or 2016. Right now his focus is mixed martial arts. He still has to pay his dues, but I think he can make an impact right away on a smaller scale and see what happens after a year or two."

    Askren plans to commute between Coconut Creek, Columbia, Mo., and Hartland, Wis., where he grew up and was a star wrestler at Arrowhead High. He is a volunteer assistant coach at Missouri where his younger brother Max still wrestles.

    "I am going to accomplish my goals wherever I'm at because I have that inner drive," Askren said. "Yes, this is probably the best gym in the country and I will be spending a lot of time here but I am not going to move here. It might take a little more work and it might be a little harder, but if you want something bad enough you can do it."

    He plans on making his pro debut in Columbia, Mo., where he has a large fan base. His second fight is scheduled for the Feb. 26 Proving Grounds Cagefighting card at the James L. Knight Center in Miami.

    "I'm not good yet but I'm going to be," Askren said. "It's not like I am going to fight Georges St. Pierre tomorrow. I am going to start out at the bottom. I am going to start out with fights that aren't that difficult. I don't have to stay on my feet. I can take somebody down. It is going to be a learning process. I'm not going to be a great striker in two months, maybe two years.

    "It's going to take time, I understand that. I know I am a beginner and I might lose here and there but so what. In a couple months I am not going to be submitted and you're not going to beat me in my wrestling. Somebody who wants to beat me better knock me out. As long as at the end of the day I am the best, that's all that matters. I am too strong a competitor to go down easy and I definitely can be the best."
    Gene Ching
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    More on Askren

    I hope he goes for it. He seems to have the right attitude towards the sport.
    Fight Path: After 2008 Olympics, Ben Askren's few options included MMA
    by Kyle Nagel on Feb 05, 2009 at 8:58 am ET

    When Ben Askren was a kid, his family kept crude pairs of boxing gloves in the basement of their Hartland, Wis., home. Askren and friends would sometimes fight with them on the wrestling mats placed for the Askren brothers' true sport.

    Like in wrestling, Askren dominated.

    "I always won, but not because I was great," Askren said. "The other guys just weren't good. I was trying something new."

    It could've been the last time Askren was dabbling in a different sport, until this weekend. The college national champion and Olympic wrestler will make his mixed-martial-arts debut on Saturday when he headlines "Headhunters Fight League: The Patriot Act," an event he's promoting to bring an MMA presence to mid-Missouri.

    It took him three tries to nail down an opponent (Josh Flowers), and he's dealing with administrative work in the days leading up to his professional debut. But nerves haven't taken hold, not when a competitor has twice been tabbed the nation's best and has battled on the world's biggest, once-in-four-years stage.

    For everyone else, there are plenty of angles for excitement. They'll again watch the energetic, charismatic, entertaining Askren in a timed, physical match, which wasn't always a certainty. They'll see one of wrestling's top performers of the past two years make a move to MMA, burgeoning interest in the event and the sport.

    They could also see the beginning of a new career that would make Askren yet another top wrestler to transition into MMA.

    "I'm a calm guy, so I won't get jacked up until I get in the cage," Askren said. "And I'm not even really sure what's going to happen."

    One of the best

    By age 14, Askren was a success in every sport in his Wisconsin town. With a father who was a high school wrestler, a younger brother who was involved and with great potential, Askren chose to focus solely on the sport of wrestling.

    In winning youth state titles in seventh and eighth grades, Askren noticed his own potential.

    "I like the physical nature of the sport. It's just you and the other guy," he said. "You can't point to anyone else about what happens. You have all the responsibility, and it's all up to you in how you prepare."

    After placing second in the state as a freshman, Askren won three state championships before an award-filled career at the University of Missouri made him a two-time national champion at 174 pounds with 153 college wins and an 87-match winning streak as a junior and senior. He was a success outside the sport, as well, as he served as president of the university's Student Athlete Advisory Council.

    An underdog to many to make the U.S. Olympic team for the Beijing games, Askren blew though the one-day qualifying tournament to become the team's 163-pound (74-kilogram) representative. The media swarmed him, as much for his floppy hair and personality as for his college success. Everyone loved the story about Askren handing his camera to a stranger at the Opening Ceremonies to snap a picture of him. The stranger was Barbara Bush, daughter of President George W. Bush.

    But Askren wasn't familiar with the international brand of wrestling. He had to cut his hair for the Games because competitors from other countries would pull on it for an advantage.

    Askren's Olympic experience ended in the second round with a loss to Cuban Ivan Fundora, an experienced international competitor.

    "I wish I had been more prepared," Askren said. "The move the Cuban got on me, I had never seen it before. It totally caught me by surprise. I wish I would have changed my training, where I was competing, how I was doing it. But it was over."

    His wrestling career stalled with few professional opportunities, Askren decided to follow a line of wrestlers before him and train for MMA.

    A major move

    Askren, though, almost made the decision much earlier.

    "I almost skipped the Olympic thing," Askren said of potentially beginning his MMA career sooner. "MMA has been on my mind for awhile, and there are four years until the next Olympics, so now is the time to see if I can do it."

    Askren began his MMA training while still in college, dabbling in jiu jitsu at American Top Team of Missouri, the Columbia, Mo. training center. After a few post-Olympic vacations, Askren joined the gym as the lead instructor of its wrestling program and became an assistant coach with the University of Missouri wrestling program.

    All the while, he improved. He has become a regular twice-a-day participant in training.

    "The hardest part is I'm terrible at stand-up," Askren said. "I'm learning how to defend, figure out my own moves, learn from experience. That's what I did in wrestling."

    Not long ago, Askren and a few friends were sitting at American Top Team and decided Columbia could use its own event. Askren agreed to participate to help promote the show, so his decision features as much business sense as fighting savvy.

    He gains confidence from watching other wrestlers make the MMA transition.

    "The thing in MMA is there's such a large skill set," Askren said. "I wrestled 17 years fulltime, so I picked up a lot of skills, some I can use still. I know how to get in shape. I know some good ways to work out.

    "I know everyone in the room is going to be tough, and nothing's going to be easy. There are no easy days, but it's like wrestling. You have to depend on yourself. The stronger man, the better man will win."
    Gene Ching
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  5. #5
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    Now 2:0

    Anyone see this fight?
    Askren dominates second MMA fight
    Sunday, April 26, 2009 | 12:21 a.m. CDT
    BY Jeffrey Stoffey

    Dominating opponents is nothing new for Ben Askren.

    Former MU wrestler Ben Askren,left, defeated Mitchell Harris at Holiday Inn Expo Center on Saturday, April 25, 2009. It was Askren's second mixed-martial arts fight and he has knocked out both of his opponents in the first round.

    A two-time NCAA national champion wrestler at Missouri, Askren continued his new career of mixed martial arts Saturday night at the event called “The Patriot Act II” at the Holiday Inn Expo Center in Columbia.

    Askren defeated Mitchell Harris by a technical knockout just 1:27 into the first round. The match was the second of Askren’s young MMA career. He won his first match by technical knockout against Josh Flowers in February.

    The crowd Saturday night, many wearing Mizzou gear in support of the former wrestler, stuck around to watch the co-main event—the tenth and final match of the night. A fight between Lucas Lopes and Whisper Goodman was the other co-main event match. Lopes won by a unanimous decision.

    Just before the final match, a plethora of boos rang across the Expo Center, directed at Askren’s opponent, Harris. When Askren was introduced, most of the crowd stood and cheered, the loudest ovation of the night.

    Askren, who competed in the Beijing Olympic games last summer in wrestling, has found a new love after wrestling. Askren became one of the most noticeable wrestlers while at Missouri because of his “funky” curly hairstyle. Askren was pleased with the outcome of the night.

    “That went really well. All of the fights were awesome,” Askren said. “I felt more comfortable on my feet tonight.”

    Askren has been working hard to become known for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu aspect of his fightinghttp. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a combat sport and martial art that focuses on grappling.

    “Jiu-Jitsu, that’s my answer,” Francisco “Kiko” France, who has been training Askren, said. “It’s going to be really hard to stop Ben.”

    Even though Askren won in the first round, France believes he could have beat Harris even faster.

    “Ben is crazy. He knows he can win easy, but he wants to show everybody that he’s good at everything,” France said. “That what makes him a good fighter.”

    Askren believes that learning Jiu-Jitsu is an important part to his success.

    “My Jiu-Jitsu is getting better everyday,” Askren said.

    Askren is unsure when his next fight will take place, but he wants it to be at a bigger venue.

    “I would like to be 5 or 6 (wins) and 0 (losses) by the end of 2009,” Askren said.

    While he hasn’t ruled out returning to the 2012 Olympics in London, he is happy with MMA for the moment.

    “It’s a great feeling inside that cage,” Askren said.
    Gene Ching
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    More on Ben

    Anyone follow Bellator here?
    April 6, 2012 at 1:00 am
    Ben Askren gets toughest challenge of career Friday at Windsor
    Matt Bishop

    Windsor — At every level of wrestling growing up, Ben Askren didn't find initial success.

    Whether it was as a youngster, in high school, at the collegiate level or internationally, Askren noted he always failed before he found success.

    That's what makes Askren's ascension to the top of Bellator's welterweight division so interesting. In his sixth career fight, he won a Bellator tournament. In his seventh fight, he won the Bellator welterweight title. In his ninth fight, he defended it. Now Askren will get the toughest challenge of his career when he faces well-rounded challenger Douglas Lima on Friday at Bellator 64 at Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino.

    "I think I'm still a work in progress in a lot of different aspects of mixed martial arts," Askren said Wednesday.

    So what's made him so successful off the bat in MMA when he never found initial success in wrestling?

    "People aren't as good at this as they are at wrestling," Askren said. "Mixed martial arts is fairly new, (starting in 1993). It's just kind of gotten to that saturation in North America where a lot of people are competing in it. People just flat-out aren't as good. I'm ranked somewhere between 10th and 20th in the world at MMA and I would venture to say in wrestling, I might not even be in the top 50 anymore if I did come back to compete. I took seventh in the Olympics, but not competing in the last three or four years has probably dropped me down significantly. But I would say even though I'm 50th in one and 10th or 20th in the other, I would say I'm a significantly better wrestler than I am a mixed martial artist."

    As a "work in progress," Askren made the move last year to train with Roufusport in Milwaukee, a camp primarily known for developing lethal strikers headed by former kickboxing world champion Duke Roufus.

    That makes Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney excited for what he could have in Askren. Rebney says if Askren can get his striking to just 30 or 40 percent of what his wrestling is, he'll be the most dangerous welterweight in the world.

    "The question is, can the rest of his game catch up to that unbelievable level his wrestling is at," Rebney said. "I think he's the best wrestler in mixed martial arts, bar none. I think he's the best in our game, but our game is not just wrestling, it's many other things. If that evolution can occur, the sky's the limit for Ben Askren."

    The 27-year old Askren insists he feels no pressure from his unblemished 9-0 MMA record and it's easy to believe him. After all, this is the same man that was a two-time NCAA Division I runner-up, a two-time champion and competed in the Beijing Olympic Games. In fact, he welcomes any sort of pressure.

    "For me, in wrestling, it was always the bigger the venue, the more pressure, the better I did," he said. "I don't know if that was so much the quality of me or my opponents cracking under the pressure, but I always really succeed at those high-pressure moments."

    His fight with the 24-year old Lima (21-4) could bring some of those high-pressure situations that Askren thrives in. Not only is Lima an extremely powerful striker (he's won three of his last four fights by knockout), he's also very adept off his back. That said, Askren is such a smothering force on top that Lima's best chance will come on the feet.

    "He's got to use his striking," Rebney said of Lima. "I think the thing Doug has that presents some issues is he's able to generate an amazing amount of power from a very short distance. Some guys in there striking can develop huge power, but it takes a huge wind-up, it takes distance. … That's what makes him very dangerous to anybody, especially somebody who's searching for the takedown with their arms open. It leaves holes."

    What are Lima's plans to counter Askren's wrestling? Well, it's pretty simple: Hit him.

    "I've been working a lot on my wrestling defense and my coaches and training partners have helped me," Lima said. "It'll be my jiu-jitsu against his wrestling, so it should be an interesting fight."

    The Askren-Lima fight headlines Bellator 64, which also features two bouts in the company's bantamweight tournament and a featherweight tournament semifinal fight. The first fight kicks off a 7 p.m. with the show going live on MTV2 at 8 p.m. Tickets, priced $30-$125 Canadian, are available through Ticketmaster and the Caesars Windsor box office.
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    Good wrestling, okay Jiu Jitsu, garbage striking, I'm not impressed. He's just another wrestler competing in MMA. He'll do fine against lower tiered fighters but once he faces a striker who can stuff his take downs he'll fade quickly.

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    good luck finding a striker who can do that lol

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    Georges St. Pierre

    Carlos Condit

    Nick Diaz

    Jake Ellenberger

    Johny Hendricks (wrestler but more of a striker now)

    Wrestlers who could beat Askrin

    Matt Hughes

    Josh Koscheck

    Jake Shields

    Diego Sanchez

    Jon Fitch

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaolin View Post
    Georges St. Pierre

    Carlos Condit

    Nick Diaz

    Jake Ellenberger

    Johny Hendricks (wrestler but more of a striker now)

    Wrestlers who could beat Askrin

    Matt Hughes

    Josh Koscheck

    Jake Shields

    Diego Sanchez

    Jon Fitch
    lol as i said good luck finding anyone other that GSP, koscheck, shields sanchez etc are good national level guys, their is a big difference between national and OL level

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    I wonder, is there any pure MMA fighter at the higher levels?
    By that I mean a guy that has ONLY MMA training and not some core from another sport combat system?
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    I wonder, is there any pure MMA fighter at the higher levels?
    By that I mean a guy that has ONLY MMA training and not some core from another sport combat system?
    at the moment probably not, simply because MMA's not been round enough so people had to start elsewhere, wrestling or thai normally, will this change honestly who can tell? as long as wrestling is taught in US schools it will be hard to find someone not having a start out in wrestling in MMA
    Last edited by Frost; 04-09-2012 at 12:30 PM.

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    As far as I know Condit is. He has no traditional martial arts training, boxing, kickboxing or wrestling background. He started training at Jackson's as a teenager and has been there ever since.

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    Askren won again

    Now he's in a ****ing match with Dana White.

    UFC's Dana White, Bellator's Ben Askren engage in spat over drug testing issue in UFC
    Apr 16, 2012 - 7:55:09 PM
    By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

    WhiteDana_WK150_48.jpg
    On Saturday, UFC President Dana White once again opined on the difficulties he claims to face in regards to drug testing in the organization. He claimed that MMA testing is the gold standard in all of sports, then unleashed a tirade regarding why the UFC is at the limit of what they can do on the subject.

    "I have 375 fighters in every country all over the world. The battle that I have to get these guys to get their [expletive] bout agreements back and show up for press is un[expletive]believable," White said (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com). "The fact that I have to make personal phone calls to tell guys to talk to the [expletive] press. Now I'm going to start making personal phone calls to go show up for random drug tests? The general public and the media need to grasp some [expletive] concept of reality, okay? The reality of us doing all the [expletive] things that we're doing, when we already have the gold standard in drug testing, and then trying to chase 375 guys all over the world to randomly test them too? It's impossible."

    "You know why? Because this job is insane. It's [expletive] crazy. I was standing in Las Vegas ten hours a guy filming a [expletive] TV show, and now I'm sitting here. And I'm going to randomly drug test 375 guys around the world. You know where I'm going in a few hours? To Abu Dhabi. Then I go back and film ‘The Ultimate Fighter,' then I go to Atlanta, Miami, and I'm in Rio de Janeiro for three hours, then back to Las Vegas where I'll film ‘The Ultimate Fighter' again. And in between there somewhere I'm going to randomly drug test 375 [fighters]."

    Now, one thing White is missing in this tirade is no one is asking him personally to conduct the testing, and his claims of impossibility don't necessarily hold water. Well, that led to quite the interesting exchange on Twitter on Monday, as outspoken Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren called White out on these claims.

    "The USOC random tests Olympic athletes in all sports," Askren wrote. "Dana saying testing his fighters would be impossible is a bold faced lie... just making a statement about a level playing field."

    That comment got a reaction out of White, who decided to attack the fighting style of the Olympic wrestler and undefeated welterweight.

    "When ambien can't sleep it takes Ben Askren," White said, admittedly lifting a joke from comedian and HBO show host Bill Maher. "The most boring fighter in MMA history. I would rather watch flys f***."

    The exchange continued, with Askren writing "Glad you know my name now. Before I was just the bushy haired wrestler," and another fan bringing Jon Fitch's name into the conversation. Bringing up the oft criticized welterweight led to White responding, "Ben makes Fitch look like Wanderlei Silva!!!"

    While it may seem like this back and forth tiff on the subject could be detrimental to Askren's future prospects of moving to the UFC, White actually said it's not something that would be harmful to his career at all.

    "He didn't damage his career," White wrote. "He is entitled to his opinion. He doesn't know [what the f***] he is talking about [though]."

    Penick's Analysis: Askren isn't wrong, but the response from White is quite typical anyway. It's not an impossible thing for the UFC to be testing their fighters, it's simply something that would require a little extra effort and money. The key is the establishment or support of some type of outside agency that can test throughout the year and can cover the UFC in areas where there aren't commissions, because them policing themselves isn't ideal either. But the big issue here is White's characterization of the problem. He's making it seem like it would be his responsibility to test every single fighter wherever they are in the world. That's not the case at all. White doesn't even need to be personally involved. If there was an independently operated organization or branch funded by UFC contributions, they could be in charge of setting up random tests, and handing out disciplinary action accordingly. There are ways more can be done, and White is wrong to keep spouting the line that it's the most tested sport or has the best testing, because that's not where we're at yet.
    Gene Ching
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    Back to Ben

    I'm posting this here just to ttt it. More on CM Punk here. More on Anthony Pettis here. Both Punk and Pettis probably deserve their own threads here too, but we'll let that emerge organically.
    White Responds To CM Punk Critics, Including Ben Askren
    By Matt Parrino December 17, 2014
    Web Producer

    "The Download" with Dana White is a weekly UFC.com exclusive interview with the boss, covering everything that's in the news. This week Dana talks about CM Punk, Ben Askren, Anthony Pettis and Renan Barao.


    When Joe Rogan interviewed new UFC fighter CM Punk at UFC 181 and introduced the former WWE mega star to the MMA world, the Internet just about exploded.

    Some were excited, others intrigued, and just as many people questioned the move considering Phil “CM Punk” Brooks has no real MMA background.

    The UFC essentially signed an inexperienced amateur fighter.

    UFC President Dana White said he understands both the positive and negative reactions to the signing.

    “The feedback has been both – it’s mixed. Some people love it, some people hate it,” White said. “The people who are opposed to it and *****ing about it, I get it. Every fight that we do isn’t going to be everybody’s thing, but there will be people who want to watch him and those that don’t.”

    It’s no secret that current MMA fighter Ben Askren isn’t the biggest UFC fan. His back and forth with White over the years has been well documented, but White said in August that he could see Askren in the UFC someday.

    But Askren doesn’t seem to be interested in fighting inside the Octagon. After UFC 181, he was quick to respond to the signing of CM Punk on Twitter.
    “All you dummies believed @danawhite when he said I need more experience. Then he signs a 0-0 fake wrestler. LOL on you,” Askren said on Twitter.
    White was puzzled a bit after reading the tweet.

    “The thing is with Ben Askren is that Ben Askren doesn’t really want to fight here, in my opinion. People that are close to him say the same thing,” White said. “The guy is making a ton of money to fight nobodies, but when you talk and you say a lot of things it keeps your name out there. Trust me when I tell you this, Ben Askren does not want to fight in the UFC. Believe me when I tell you that.”

    As far as Brooks goes, White said he is giving him a chance to live out a dream.

    “He and I have become friends and he told me, ‘I’ve achieved some cool things in my life and I want to try the UFC. It’s not like I’m young enough to fight my way up in the smaller leagues. I’d like to come in and give it a shot and see what I got,’” White said.

    On Renan Barao and Anthony Pettis


    Barao (left) vs. T.J. DillashawBarao (left) vs. T.J. Dillashaw

    Barao is set to step back inside the Octagon this weekend for the first time since he lost his UFC bantamweight title back at UFC 173.

    Before the loss, White called Barao perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The boss is excited to see if Barao can return to form against Mitch Gagnon in Brazil.

    “It’s a very tough fight, but everyone knows what I thought about Renan Barao,” White said. “The question with Renan again will be making that weight. Can he continue to make that weight?”

    Speaking of pound-for-pound best fighters, White’s been very vocal about how good he thinks UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is and can be.

    In fact, he’s known it for a long time.

    “I’ve always seen something special in Anthony Pettis. When you see a guy that’s that talented and he’s only going to get better – I mean, he can do things to people that other people can’t do,” White said. “For instance, Gilbert Melendez has three different titles in three different organizations. Gilbert grew up with the Gracies, trains every day with the Diaz brothers and Jake Shields, and Pettis put him in a guillotine choke and choked him out. Every time he hit Gilbert, he hurt him. Pettis is a beast.”
    Gene Ching
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