The UFC has had numerous top level wrestlers join its ranks, with the likes of Henry Cejudo, Daniel Cormier, and Ben Askren finding success. Jordan Burroughs’ accomplishments is on a completely different level though, and MMA has yet to have someone of his caliber... yet?
According to the Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion himself, that could change.
“I would love to. I just want to fight one time, that’s it. I want one fight,” Burroughs told ESPN. “For me, it’s not about the status, it’s not about the glory, it’s not about the money. I just want to throw my hands and see what I’m made of.
“I think that wrestlers, and fighters have that same fighting spirit. There’s just a spirit about you. It’s such a beautiful art form in which you can implement strategy in order to subdue another individual. I kinda feel like that’s where wrestling and UFC — we collaborate in that way.”
According to one of wrestling’s all-time greats, this is something he has been thinking about for years, but understands that MMA is a “rough existence” and a “different game.”
“So I thought about it. I considered it. I don’t know if I’m really going to do it. But I’ve considered doing one fight and then getting out with my hands clean,” Burroughs said.
“I can’t make any promises. I’m saying I’ve considered it. It depends on what the offer is like and who my opponent was... but I don’t know. It’s definitely intriguing,” he said. “I’m so comfortable in my identity as a wrestler, that if I never fought, it would never bother me one bit. But I’m also such a competitor that I’ve considered it for a long period of time.
“What about just one? What could I do? If I let my hands fly, could I put someone out? So we’ll see,” he said. “I think my mental toughness, athleticism, and my physical prowess, I’d be successful if I decided to fight, no matter what.”
Burroughs also noted that he has spoken to fellow Olympian Cormier at length about the switch, with the UFC champion saying that MMA is somewhat “easier” than the wrestling grind. He shared that Cormier also invited to join him to coach at The Ultimate Fighter at one point.
Even less accomplished wrestlers without a fully developed striking game have had great success in MMA, so it would definitely be intriguing to see how Burroughs’ elite level wrestling and athleticism would translate. That being said, I wouldn’t hold my breath just yet as Burroughs currently has a lot on his plate right now.
The 30-year-old wrestler is currently preparing for the Pan American games, and along with multiple other trials and competitions, he also has his sights on getting another Olympic medal in 2020.
Burroughs is also set to wrestle UFC fighter Ben Askren at Grapple at the Garden this May. Askren is one of the best wrestlers in MMA, and despite being the smaller man, Burroughs says this is a good opportunity to show MMA fans that there are levels in wrestling.