World of MMA Paying Close Attention to Iowa City This Weekend

B.Senior Analyst IJanuary 16, 2010

Something big is happening in the world of sports this Saturday, and it has nothing to do with football or basketball.

There is no championship on the line. There isn't a playoff berth at stake. There is just a grudge match in a sport very few people pay attention to. 

The No.1 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes (13-0) will put a 51-match dual winning streak on the line against the No. 4 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-0-1) in Iowa City this weekend.

Why is a college wrestling match, especially one that's in the middle of nowhere, of such importance?

If you have to ask, you aren't a true fan of mixed martial arts.

The last time Iowa lost a wrestling dual meet was January 5, 2008...against Oklahoma State. It was the sole loss during Iowa's national championship run that year.

Since then, Hawkeye wrestling has dominated the sport. 

Iowa's current win streak is believed to be the fourth-longest in college wrestling history, according to historian Jay Hammond.

Wrestlers and coaches know the significance of Saturday's dual in Carver-Hawkeye Arena . Six of the 10 matches could potentially feature battles between nationally ranked wrestlers.

That could be why almost every major MMA outlet is covering what is going on in Iowa City.

HDNet's Inside MMA held a live episode to preview one of the biggest NCAA wrestling duals in years, featuring former Iowa Wrestling Coach and National Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductee Dan Gable, former UFC Champion Pat Miletich, as well as Kenny Rice, Bas Rutten, and Guy Mezger.

That is undoubtedly Inside MMA's best lineup for an episode to date.

It is no hidden mystery that wrestlers have fared well in mixed martial arts. Several past UFC champions have been former college wrestlers. 

Rashad Evans wrestled at Michigan State. Dan Henderson wrestled at ASU. Matt Hughes wrestled at Eastern Illinois University. Chuck Liddel, Tito Ortiz, and Brock Lesnar were all college wrestlers. 

Randy "The Natural " Couture also wrestled in Oklahoma State.

With over half of the matches in tonight's meet featuring nationally ranked wrestlers, there is a good chance the world could be watching a future UFC champion in the making.

My advice to the UFC's Dana White: pay attention to Iowa's Brent Metcalf. He could be a future 155 lb. UFC champion.