So I’m not going to waste a shit ton of ink on this but this is a pretty big deal to anyone that follows amateur wrestling or MMA.
Ben Askren, easily top-5 biggest dbag in MMA but vaunted and decorated wrestler all the same will go up against Jordan Burroughs, long considered one of the better mat men our country has to offer, for the first time ever in May. They will be face off as part of a bigger, Madison Square Garden-centered event for Beat The Streets, an org aimed at directing urban youth towards wrestling. The rest of the event will feature various members of Team USA vs. Various NCAA Champions. Pretty cool stuff all around.
As for this match up, which will definitely be the most marquee, it is an interesting one. Askren, known as a downright confounding grappler in MMA, is actually the less decorated of the two. Using his “funk” style of flow and physical momentum-based wrestling, he was indeed a four-time All American and two-time NCAA champion at Missouri. He also qualified but did not medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. After the 08′ games, Askren by and large stopped competing in wrestling, aside from an occasional tournament, to pursue MMA.
Burroughs, as I mentioned, is one of the bigger names in USA Wrestling point blank period. His collegiate accolades are similar to Askren’s as he was a three time All American and two-time, undefeated NCAA Champion at Nebraska. However their paths diverge post-college. Since graduating from Lincoln, Burroughs has earned one Olympic gold medal as well as four World Championships, with three 3rd place finishes in the Worlds to boot. He also has collected four golds across various Pan-American tournaments as well. I guess it’s important to note that he has a few confusing results, such as his 9th place finish in Rio, but shit happens.
The outlying factor in all of this, really what makes this so interesting, is that Askren is bigger. Burroughs wrestles at 74kg, which is roughly 165 lb. Askren wrestled at 84kg, which is roughly 185lb, so ya. That said, Askren fights at 170lb so maybe he’s slimmed down over the years, but he is used to fighting, and moving. much larger men. Their match will be wrestled at a sort of catchweight of 79kg, or ~174lb. I don’t think this really matters except for the fact that Burroughs might be able to pack on some muscle or, at least, not have to cut down so much.
All in all it’s a cool and intriguing match up for what seems to be a growing sport in wrestling. Hopefully some people catch wind of it and gain some interest.
If you’re still reading this know any good books?