Jon Jones has the incredible distinction as the first Factgrinder subject, way before these examinations of wrestling careers were even known as Factgrinders. Before the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion’s fight with Chael Sonnen, I saw plenty of confusion regarding the wrestling backgrounds of both fighters, and wanted to resolve any misunderstandings. I enjoyed this nerdly indulgence to such a degree, that I took it upon myself to do the same for every other major fighter with significant wrestling achievements.
I’ve been doing this so long now, that it seems I’ve traveled in a bit of a circle and would like readers to revisit what I wrote about the shortish but impressive wrestling career of Jon Jones. Most of what there is to know about light-heavyweight champ’s on-mat endeavors appears in my comparison of Jones’ and Sonnen’s wrestling, and an in-depth look at a high school national championship bracket where Jones competed alongside Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner.
As for Cormier, I don’t believe I’ve written more about any other fighter. Cormier is my use, my flame. I’ve analyzed specific moves, such as his lift on Josh Barnett and his step-around throw on Dan Henderson, which I broke down in the first episode my sadly under-viewed video series “Puttin’ in Work”. I even wrote a lengthy post on why his wrestling style would make a successful transition to MMA, before most fans even cared about Cormier the fighter.
Finally, I composed a Factgrinder examining Cormier’s wrestling career. Please read it and enjoy it as you gear up to watch UFC 182.
I’ll add that Cormier came in at number eight in my ranking of the 25 greatest wrestlers in UFC history. Looking back, if I had to do it over again, I would rank him higher, and consider him the second most accomplished wrestler currently fighting in the UFC, behind only Yoel Romero. Cormier’s international wrestling success lasted far longer than UFC bantamweight Henry Cejudo, who just didn’t compete on the world stage for very long.
As a final note, the only other fighter on this card with any significant post-high school wrestling accomplishments is Danny Castillo, who placed twice at the NAIA National Championships for California’s Menlo College,
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