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Ideas On The Ben Askren And Demetrious Johnson Trade
A brief conversation on a historic trade...
Recently “Funky” Ben Askren and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson made waves in the MMA world by being traded. Ben Askren will now fight for the UFC and Mighty Mouse will now fight for ONE Championship. This is the first MMA trade deal of its kind. With the rise of other major MMA promotions, perhaps there will be more.
Many regard Demetrious as the pound for pound great. He holds a record of 27 wins in 31 fights. He also holds the record for most successful title defenses in flyweight division history (eleven) and most consecutive title defenses in flyweight division history (eleven).
Some have argued that the UFC never promoted Demetrious Johnson effectively. Others have argued that, for the casual fan, fly weight fighters are not that interesting. Ultimately, Demetrious’ stint in ONE Championship will provide a definitive answer to this debate.
From my point of view, I more am disappointed that a match with T.J. Dillashaw will likely never happen. However, it will definitely be nice to see Demetrious with a fresh division of opponents to challenge.
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Ben Askren is a former Olympic wrestler and professional fighter with an undefeated record. He has competed in both Bellator and ONE Championship. Askren has called out the whole division: Georges St-Pierre, Darren Till, Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, Stephen Thompson, and both Diaz brothers. Many news outlets are reporting that Askren is set to meet Robbie Lawler at UFC 230. While I am a fan of Lawler, I believe there are so many more interesting match ups to be made. As a grappler, I would rather see him fight George St- Pierre or Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Besides his professional fighting career, Ben has always been interesting for several other reasons. First, Ben's trolling of UFC President Dana White has been absolutely hilarious. Secondly, is his approach to training structure. For anyone following my articles, you know I am always excited to talk about training structure. Ben stated on JRE MMA Show podcast, “We know, without a shadow of a doubt (that) just saying ‘go for five minutes’ is not the most effective way to train someone,” “If I’m coaching at my academy, and we were drilling the front headlock, we don’t just say ‘OK, now go five-minute goes’ because how many tries are they gonna get at going at the front headlock position?” Askren said. “Maybe one, maybe two, but essentially most people, if you say ‘go for five minutes’, they’re not disciplined enough to make themselves do new skills. They revert to whatever they do best. And then they just do it over and over and over again. If I want a kid to be good at a front headlock – which if you’re gonna wrestle at a high level, you need a good front headlock – I’m gonna put him in there 50 times in that practice,” he added. “He’s gonna get it over and over and over, and maybe the next day, it’s single-legs, and maybe the next day it’s double-legs. And maybe some days, you say ‘hey, go for ten minutes, go wrestle. But saying ‘go for five minutes’ every single day is very much not the most effective way to do it, and it’s so insanely frustrating for me to have that happen at almost every jiu-jitsu school in the planet.” As I add structure to my own Jiu Jitsu, it definitely gives me a lot to think about.
At the end of the day, the trade is exciting for both grapplers and MMA fans at large. Perhaps, both fighters have found a home more aligned to their needs. With the increased popularity of other promotions, it will be interesting to see if more of these trades happen.