Ben Askren will put his undefeated record and ONE Championship welterweight title on the line again November 13 in Singapore, against a familiar opponent.
The outspoken Askren, a Wisconsin native who ranks among MMA’s most decorated wrestlers (and is widely seen as the top fighter in the world not signed by the UFC), will face Luis “Sapo” Santos for the second time in the main event of ONE: Pride of Lions.
In their first bout, the underdog Santos surprised many by enjoying a strong start. Later, Askren began to turn the tide, when the fight was called due to an unintentional eye poke by Askren.
Some wrote the result off as an unfortunate end to what seemed a promising bout.
But according to Askren, Santos simply quit — and he expects the Brazilian to quit again.
“Yeah, that’s what I felt at the time,” Askren said on The Parting Shot Podcast, when asked if Santos “wanted out” of the bout. “That’s what I still feel. I’ve been in combat sports a long time. The eye poke nicked him! It barely hit him. We see eye pokes all the time in Mixed Martial Arts; it’s part of the sport. How many fights can you think of where a fight was called because of that? Not very many.”
Askren says he wasn’t surprised by the result, either.
“He was spending his gas tank, tired of me coming after him, and didn’t really want any more,” he said.
November 13 will be a matter of “wash-rinse-repeat,” according to Askren.
“I’m going to come after him and I’m not going to stop,” he said. “He felt a little of my persistence. He didn’t hurt me at all in those first couple of minutes. I’m ready to fight.”