Former Olympian and two-time NCAA Division I national wrestling champion Ben Askren's first professional MMA fight was a quick one.
Askren (1-0), a former University of Missouri wrestler, scored a first-round TKO of Josh Flowers (0-3) at the Holiday Inn Expo Center in Columbia, Mo., at the debut Headhunters Fight League event.
Askren, the head wrestling instructor at American Top Team of Missouri, scored an early takedown and forced an 84-second stoppage after a subsequent ground-and-pound assault.
Askren, a four-time All-American, finished his collegiate wrestling career with a stellar 153-8 record with 91 pins. He went undefeated his junior and senior years with an 87-0 record.
Prior to competing in this year's Beijing Olympics, where he was knocked out of medal contention by eventual bronze medalist Cuba's Ivan Fundora, Askren announced his intentions of going pro in MMA.
As he recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
), Askren knows his past accomplishments don't necessarily mean success in MMA.
"The thing in MMA is there's such a large skill set," Askren said. "I wrestled 17 years fulltime, so I picked up a lot of skills, some I can use still. I know how to get in shape. I know some good ways to work out.
"I know everyone in the room is going to be tough, and nothing's going to be easy (in MMA). There are no easy days, but it's like wrestling. You have to depend on yourself. The stronger man, the better man will win."
Also staking claim to a win at the event was former UFC fighter and "The Ultimate Fighter 4" cast member Din Thomas (23-8).
Thomas, who dropped from lightweight to featherweight for the fight, stopped Dustin Peiter (1-1) in the first round of the night's main event.