Most mixed martial arts experts would tell you that the best base to enter the sport is wrestling. There have been tons of successful wrestlers transition into MMA. We have seen guys like Dan Henderson, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Josh Koscheck, Ben Askren and Daniel Cormier enter MMA with a great wrestling pedigree. It seems every year NCAA national champion wrestlers, all-americans and olympic calibur wrestlers enter the world of MMA. There are currently a slew of mega talented wrestlers on the brink of entering the world of MMA. Just recently, Bubba Jenkins began his MMA career and Shawn Bunch signed with Bellator. Who is the next decorated wrestler to enter MMA?
1. Darrion Caldwell
Caldwell is a 2 time NCAA All-American and a National Champion out of NC State. Caldwell has also openly spoken of a potential move to MMA. He would likely compete at 145 lbs if he did. Caldwell could be a legit force right away in the featherweight division.
2. Chris Honeycutt
Honeycutt was the 2012 national runner-up. Following the 2012 NCAA tournament, Honeycutt said he would move to MMA. It is also likely that he will make the move to train with Josh Koscheck in California. Honeycutt is a Edinboro University guy, which makes the move to train with Koscheck make sense. t is uncertain what weight class he would compete at in MMA. He wrestled at 197 lbs, meaning that it is very likely that he will begin his career at 205 lbs.
3. Steve Mocco
Mocco is a 2003 and 2005 national champion and U.S. Olympian in 2004. Mocco has already signed with American Top Team and will begin his MMA training. Mocco will compete in MMA as a heavyweight. However, at 30 years of age, he will will be getting a semi-late start in the sport
4. Jordan Burroughs
Jordan Burroughs is a University of Nebraska wrestler who is on the 2012 U.S. Men’s Olympic teams. He is a 2 time NCAA champion and 3 time all-American. Burroughs has mentioned the possibility of MMA, but it is also possible that he will elect to continue his wrestling career until 2016. If Burroughs were to move to MMA he would fight in the lightweight (155 lbs) division. I would expect Burroughs to fight eventually, but fans may have to wait for this one.
5. Gregor Gillespie
Gillespie is a national chhampion wrestler put of Edinboro University. Gillespie was rumored to be making an MMA debut in 2012, but no word has come on a potential fight. Gillespie, like Burroughs would compete at 155 lbs in MMA.
6. Henry Cejudo
There is a sense in which Henry Cejudo would be the most hyped wrestler to transition to MMA. Cejudo is an olympic gold medalist. He has spoken about the possibility of moving to MMA and has shown some interest. He has been somewhat non-committal. If he did he would most likely compete as a flyweight (125 lbs.).