Ben Askren is not one to hide behind his 'fro.
The Bellator welterweight champ faces perhaps the most significant challenge to his belt when he meets Jay Hieron on Saturday at Bellator 56. Thus, Askren plans on doing what he does best, which is get the takedown and grind out the fight.
All Hieron can do is try to stop him.
Bellator 56 takes place at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. Main-card action airs live on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX) while prelims stream on Spike.com.
If Heiron (22-4 MMA, 3-0 BFC) manages to stay on his feet, Askren (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BFC) will just keep at it until he puts the fight on the mat.
"I'm not going to try one time and go, 'Aw shucks, he stopped me,'" Askren told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "That's just not my personality at all. He's going to get on his back one way or the other. I don't care if he stops three or four or five (takedowns)."
Askren, a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champ at the University of Missouri and former U.S. Olympian, freely admits that Hieron is a better striker. But he's confident that won't be the case two years down the road. Having worked with renowned striking coach Duke Roufus, he feels he'll be able to strike with anyone.
"But that's down the road, and this is now," Askren said. "I never made any bones about the fact that my striking is not high level. I make up for it in other areas."
Of course, that's his wrestling and jiu-jitsu, which he's used to win all eight of his professional bouts.
Hieron has had a different trajectory. Although he has a wrestling background, his junior-college credentials pale in comparison to the champ's. He's become far more known for his striking ability, and most recently, he earned the right to face Askren by outpointing Rick Hawn in the finals of Bellator's season-four welterweight tournament.
Askren hits hard, but he doesn't have much technique. But training alongside UFC vets Alan Belcher, Anthony Pettis and Danny Downes, he brings another asset to the fight.
"They like that I'm fearless," Askren said. "I don't really mind getting hit at all."
He may have to take a few hits on his way to a takedown. But Askren is confident that he'll get the job done.
"I'm not a quitter," he said. "I keep on coming, and I will put him on his back whether it's my first attempt or 10th attempt. He'll be on his back."