Ben Askren on Agilan Thani: ‘I Don’t Think He’s at my Level’

Ben Askren
Image Credit: Ben Szwediuk

Ben Askren doesn’t believe Agilan Thani poses much of a threat to his ONE welterweight title.

Askren defends his championship against Thani inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. The bout takes place tomorrow (May 26). It’ll be “Funky’s” second ONE title defense.

Recently, Askren told MMAFighting.com that there’s a skill gap between himself and Thani:

“I don’t think he’s at my level. I don’t think a lot of people are at my level. He’s tough, he’s young. He works hard. He’s got a great attitude. I think someday he will be very good, but I think this is just too big of a jump up in competition level for him. I’m one of the best welterweights in the world, and I don’t think he’s ready for that.”

The 170-pound champion feels that once the fight gets to the ground, there’s no way the advantage doesn’t go to him.

“Honestly, his style, he does use quite a bit of wrestling and ground-and-pound, and that’s going right in my wheelhouse. I remember the first guy I fought in ONE Championship, I think he was an Azerbaijani guy (Bakhtiyar Abbasov), he took me down right away, but it was like, ‘okay, well that was a stupid move.’ I reversed him in 10 seconds and beat him up. So yeah, if he wants to take me down, that’s more than fine and we can go from there, because once it’s on the ground, that’s my world.”