NEWKIRK, Okla. — Nick “The Goat” Thompson will make his Bellator Fighting Championships debut against welterweight champion Ben “Funky” Askren in a non-title bout at Bellator 40 at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla., on April 9.

The event will air LIVE on MTV2.

It will serve as a good test for Askren and keep him busy while Bellator’s season four welterweight tournament plays out. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney commented on the match-up:

“Ben’s been completely dominant in every fight he’s had under the Bellator banner and Nick has run the MMA gauntlet in his career, fighting everywhere and everyone. He will be a fantastic test for Ben.”

Askren (7-0), a 2008 Olympian, remains undefeated in his brief pro MMA career which began in 2009. He won Bellator’s season two welterweight tournament in 2010 and earned himself a shot at champion Lyman Good (10-1) at Bellator 33 this past October.

Askren dominated and used his wrestling to control Good for five full rounds and earned a unanimous decision victory to become the Bellator welterweight champion on Oct. 21, 2010.

The bout with Thomson will be his first since winning the title. Askren commented on facing a veteran of over 50 fights:

“I come to fight every single time. 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 (38-13-1), a former Bodog welterweight champion, had an impressive 12-fight win streak going from 2006-2008. The past couple of years though, he has gone 2-3 and has dropped in his last three in a row against Tim Kennedy, Dan Hornbuckle and Taisuke Okuno.

In fact, he was stopped by all three men.

At only 29-years-old, the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy fighter is not too old to turn things around. He commented on his perceived advantages going into the fight:

“I think the biggest advantage for me in this fight with Ben is the fact that I’ve fought more than 50 fights. 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.”

Although it is not for a title, a win over Askren would make a huge statement that “The Goat” is back.

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