The promotion announced the event today, which is set to take place at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma on April 9 and airs on MTV2.
Askren, a former Olympian and 2-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion, is undefeated in his mixed martial arts career, earning seven-straight wins since his professional debut in 2009. He became welterweight champion this past October at Bellator 33 with a five round decision win over former title-holder Lyman Good.
“I come to fight every single time,” Askren stated. “Whether you’re good or you’re bad, I still want to smash you, and it’s going to be the same thing when I fight Nick Thompson. It doesn’t matter what his record is. I’m looking to kick his ass.”
Thompson is coming off of three straight losses including a TKO to fellow Bellator welterweight Dan Hornbuckle and a submission defeat to Strikeforce competitor Tim Kennedy, both in 2009. Thompson most recently saw action against Taisuke Okuno under the Sengoku banner this past August where he lost in the third round due to knockout.
Thompson, however, will be the most experienced fighter that Askren as faced up to this point. “The Goat” has 52 fights under his belt including a 2009 win over Strikeforce welterweight Paul Daley, a 2007 win over current Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, and a win over UFC veteran Josh Neer in 2005.
“I think the biggest advantage for me in this fight with Ben is the fact that I’ve fought more than 50 fights,” Thompson said. “I’ve fought in every organization. I’ve fought against the best fighters in the world, and I’ve been ranked in the top ten. Ben hasn’t been there. I plan on hitting him like he’s never been hit before, and I’m excited to find out how he’s going to react.”
No other bouts for Bellator 40 have been announced as of yet.
Bellator’s fourth season debuts on March 5 with Bellator 35 which features welterweight tournament bouts pitting, Lyman Good vs. Chris Lozano, Jay Hieron vs. Anthony Lapsley, Rick Hawn vs. Jim Wallhead, and Dan Hornbuckle vs. Brent Weedman.