5 Wrestlers We'd Love to See in MMA
Undoubtedly, one of the best bases to have going into MMA, if not the best base, is amateur wrestling. Some of the best fighters in the world were amateur wrestlers at one point, whether you're talking about Jon Jones, Chris Weidman or Cain Velasquez.
You could even see it when the fight to keep wrestling in the Olympics raged on for the past year. MMA fighters left and right were stepping up and calling for the continued inclusion of MMA in the Olympics.
The amateur ranks of wrestling have plenty of talent that could jump to MMA. Here are five wrestlers who could make an impact in the cage and we'd love to see in the near future.
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Accolades: Owner of the "Flying Squirrel Takedown"
Potential Weight Class: Bantamweight
Ellis Coleman may not have the accolades that other wrestlers have, but he was an instant phenom when he performed this awesome takedown dubbed "The Flying Squirrel."
His explosiveness and athleticism give him natural advantages in taking up MMA. He can rely on those gifts to wrestle his way to early victories while learning striking and submission arts.
The Northern Michigan University product won a bronze medal at the Junior Greco-Roman World Championships. At just 22 years old, he could be a prodigy if he decides to strap on the gloves, especially in a shallow bantamweight division.
Accolades: Two-Time Bronze and One-Time Gold Medalist at World Championships
Potential Weight Class: Women's Featherweight
One of two women on this list, Adeline Gray needs to follow in the footsteps of women like Sara McMann and Randi Miller, who went from being Team USA wrestlers to female mixed martial artists.
Gray is not only beautiful but skilled on the wrestling mat. The former world champion is just 22 years old, so she may be ahead of the curve when you consider that women's MMA is still in an embryonic stage.
Women with wrestling backgrounds have fared well in MMA thus far. McMann (No. 4 in the UFC women's bantamweight division) and Carla Esparza (Invicta strawweight champion) have made waves, so why can't Gray?
She is an Olympic hopeful for the upcoming summer games, but she could add something to a women's featherweight division ruled by feared striker Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino.
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Accolades: Multi-Time NCAA Champion and All-American; Olympic Gold Medalist; Two-Time World Champion; Pan-Am Champion
Potential Weight Class: Lightweight
If there is a more decorated wrestler in the past few years not named Jordan Burroughs, I'd like to see him. The potential MMA lightweight has won Olympic gold and handled the international competition at 74 kg over the last few years.
The University of Nebraska alumnus has long been talked about by the MMA community in the sense of a possible jump to MMA. He is an amazing wrestler with crazy athleticism, speed, balance and explosiveness.
Imagine if he developed his all-around game in MMA. He could make an impact on the sport, especially if he wound up in the UFC.
Who would stop this guy's takedowns?
Accolades: Multi-Time Pan-Am Champion; Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals at World Championships
Potential Weight Class: Women's Bantamweight
The second female wrestler on this list would fit the requirements of what it takes to be in the UFC. That is because she could make the 135-pound division, which is the only weight class for women in the top MMA promotion.
Elena Pirozhkova is a Russian immigrant who came to the United States. She has become one of the best female amateur wrestlers that the U.S. has seen in a while.
She is a multiple-time medalist at the World Championships. Her skills are serious on the mat, and although she looks like the girl next door, she is quite powerful on the shot.
Plus, as mentioned before, women's MMA is in its early stages, so a high-level wrestler can be quite effective.
Accolades: Olympic Gold Medalist; Multi-Time World Champion
Potential Weight Class: Heavyweight
The only non-American on this list, Khadzhimurat Gatsalov has been one of the best freestyle wrestlers in the world for the last decade.
In addition to taking a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the Russian owns five gold medals from the World Championship in two different weight classes (96 and 120 kg).
Sambo practitioners have recently taken the sport by storm, so why can't a world-class wrestler like Gatsalov? His wrestling chops would be second-to-none, he is durable as hell, and he has the training regimen to make a run in the sport, especially in a heavyweight division lacking depth these days.