Bloody Elbow provides this Factgrinder Guide as a means for you, the reader, to access a single hub that leads to individual Factgrinders for the fighters on a particular card.
In other words, if you looked at a particular UFC card, and wondered aloud, “I wish I knew how good these fighters on this UFC pay-per-view actually were when they wrestled in college” then the Factgrinder Guide is the only resource you need.
In the case of UFC 171, six fighters possess significant post-high school wrestling experience: Johny Hendricks, Tyron Woodley, Jake Shields, Rick Story, Kelvin Gastelum and Dennis Bermudez.
Three of these fighters have already received full blown Factgrinder treatments:
After winning a Arizona state title in high school, Gastelum spent a season wrestling for North Idaho College, a junior college in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. The bio on Gastelum’s website claims he achieved a ranking as high as fifth in the NJCAA, which is certainly plausible. This would make him a better wrestler than I thought he was, but still a far cry, in terms of skill, from those on this list with Division I success.
As a side note, once upon a time, North Idaho’s wrestling program enjoyed the services of Josh ‘The Punk’ Thomson. Looks like we have a veritable MMA factory on our hands up there in the panhandle of Idaho.
Story wrestled for Southern Oregon University on the NAIA level. NAIA exists outside the NCAA divisions, but the top NAIA wrestlers rival the skill levels of top NCAA Division II and III wrestlers, and sometimes even higher. Over the years, we have seen a few of the very best in NAIA enjoy significant success against, or on, the Division I level.
When Story lost in the NAIA national finals in 2006, placing second, his opponent was Dana College’s Willie Parks, who once enjoyed blue-chip status as a recruit for some of the nation’s top NCAA Division I schools. As far as I can find, Story faced Division I-level competition on a few other occasions in his wrestling career, and never fared particularly well.
Bermudez wrestled for two years at Division I Bloomsburg (Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania) a mid-major power on the NCAA Division I level, and he showed promise, notching a 21-18 record as a redshirt freshman at 149 pounds. After the 2006-2007, it appears that he left college wrestling behind.
The high point of Bermudez’s wrestling career came in 2007 when he placed sixth at 70 kg at the University Freestyle National Championships. I discuss the significance of University National Championship credentials at length here, but the long and short of it is that Bermudez’s placement at Universities will possibly lead to commentators referring to him as an All-American, which is true only as a technicality.
Look for Factgrinder Guides for future UFC Events.
About the author