DES MOINES, Iowa — Maybe former Missouri wrestler Ben Askren will eventually be able to find an opponent who can last more than 90 seconds in the cage with him.
After receiving criticism for fighting easier opponents in his first two professional mixed martial arts fights, Askren wanted to fight someone who was going to be more of a challenge.
Enter Matt Delanoit, a freestyle fighter out of Omaha, Neb., who boasted a 14-6 professional record.
Delanoit was able to control Askren early, working in a double under hook. With Askren's back pinned up against the cage, Delanoit started to swing when Askren utilized his wrestling abilities, shot a single leg and took Delanoit down.
"He got the double under hooks and it's hard to get a takedown from there," Askren said. "But he started swinging at me, and I went for the takedown and got it. I told everyone I was going to take this guy down and choke him."
Once on the ground, the fight was all but over, as Askren worked around to Delanoit's head and ended the fight with a north-south choke just 75 seconds into the bout.
"I like working out to the side and front," Askren said. "I have a lot of options from there."
Thus far in Askren's MMA pro career, none of his opponents have been able to last more than 90 seconds with him.
"(I'll have a longer fight) when someone can stay off their back and stop from getting choked," Askren said. "I told my coaches not to come this morning, I had a feeling that this fight wasn't going to last very long."
Despite his dominance so far, Askren is the first to admit his striking is not at the level where it needs to be.
"Once my striking gets a little better, I'll feel more comfortable with my takedowns, and it's going to mean more trouble for (my opponents)," Askren said. "But until then, simple plan, I'll just take him down."
Askren recently took a position as director of wrestling operations at Arizona State University, joining former Missouri assistant coach Shawn Charles and former Tiger wrestler Raymond Jordan.
Charles was hired as coach for the Sun Devils, who are trying to revive a historically rich program. When Charles got the job, he decided to bring Askren and Jordan along with him.
Not only will Askren be helping to revive the Sun Devils, but he also said the move will help with his MMA training. In Columbia, there is only one major training center, whereas Tempe, Arizona, has multiple gyms.
"When there's five classes a day, it's much more flexible for me," Askren said. "I don't have to feel bad about missing something. I can just come and go as I please, which is awesome for me."
Askren said he hopes to be televised shortly, which means he will face an opponent of equal caliber.
"Put me somewhere," Askren said. "I want to fight somebody."