By Dave Doyle |
January 23, 2021 2:00 pm
The freestyle wrestler many consider to be the best ever produced by the U.S. has to admit there are times when a career in mixed martial arts seems mighty appealing.
Like when Conor McGregor showed up on “Fight Island” for UFC 257.
“I follow Conor McGregor on Instagram,” Jordan Burroughs said on a recent edition of “The Jim Rome Show.” “I see him pull up with a new Rolex and a Bentley, driving a Lamborghini to practice, riding a yacht to Abu Dhabi to ‘Fight Island,’ I’m like, ‘Damn I should have followed.’”
And besides, there is certainly a template for the jump from the mats to the cage, as sometimes it seems like the most reliable pipeline to UFC gold.
“It’s an interesting dynamic, because I think I could really translate well,” Burroughs said. “Most of the champions in MMA are former wrestlers – Kamaru Usman, Henry Cejudo, Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier. All these guys were great wrestlers. I was teammates and trained alongside some of those guys, so I was like if they can do it I can do it.”
But there’s a dividing line longtime wrestlers who don’t have striking experience have to decide whether they want to cross: Do they want to join a sport in which getting punched in the face is part of the job description? Burroughs, whose accolades include a 2012 Olympic gold medal, four World Championships golds, and two NCAA championships at Nebraska, just can’t see that as part of his future.
“I’m a big fan of MMA,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I love wrestling No. 1, and No. 2 I just don’t want to get punched in the face. It’s such a different sport. In wrestling, if you lose, you get taken down, you might have gotten put on your back and pinned. But if you get beat in a fight, you get choked out, tapped out, someone’s broken something. Wrestling match, if you lose, you go have dinner with your family. MMA, you lose, you go to the hospital.”
So while the 32-year old Burroughs will continue to represent the red, white, and blue in major wrestling events all over the world, it’s unlikely he’ll ever be seen in a cage.
“It’s something I’m not really interested in doing, but I’ll be an advocate for it because I love watching it,” Burroughs said.