Olympic gold medalist wrestler Jordan Burroughs is serious about competing in an MMA fight before he retires.
The 2012 London Olympics champion spoke with journalist Ariel Helwani on the latest edition of The MMA Hour and revealed that he's serious about competing in a mixed martial arts bout, saying he doesn't want to live with the regret of never seeing what he was capable of in the MMA world.
“I feel like I have this calling where I’m like, deep down inside, when it’s all said and done and my body’s banged up for good and I’m walking away and putting away my wrestling shoes, I’ll always have that thought, like, ‘Damn, what would it be like if I would’ve gotten into the cage?’ And I don’t want to live with regret,” Burrough said (h/t MMA Fighting) “So ultimately for me, really positioning myself now where I’m like, does this make sense? How does it make sense? And really just entertaining offers. OK, can we do this? Is this even possible? Will someone even take me on for a singular event? And does it make sense timeline-wise? Does my wife agree with it, number one? And then I think lastly is, can I still be the best wrestler in the world and go out and commit to training for a fight simultaneously? Sometimes when you chase two things, you don’t get either. So I’m hoping that I can still maintain my position in the wrestling world by being the best at what I do, my craft that I intended to be the best at, but also I just have a desire, bro. I just have a strong desire to get in there and see what I’ve got.”
The 33-year old Camden, New Jersey native continued on to discuss that the financial struggles that come with competing as an amateur wrestler are something that has weighed on his decision to potentially compete in MMA. Burroughs just won gold in the 2021 World Championships in Oslo, Norway last month and was only paid $50,000 for his efforts.
“I’m just getting older,” Burroughs said. “I really think as time passes and I start to feel how my body feels after each championship, every year I feel a little bit older, it aches a little bit more, the injuries linger a little bit longer. So I’m like, damn, how long can I do this? And to be honest, I went and I won another world championship, a record-tying championship, and I won $50,000. So I’m like, I worked hard all summer, dedicated, focused, I was dialed in — and my paycheck was less than $100,000. And I’m like, I could go out there and do this and fight ultimately for three, four, five times that. So I think that’s kind of where I stand. This gives me an opportunity to elevate my brand, to have respect in all circles in the MMA community if that’s something that I want to pursue, but then also it’s the ability to just like garner financial resources relatively easily. It’s not easy, it’s not an easy sport. But from all accounts that I’ve heard from wrestlers, former wrestlers that are in the MMA world, they’re like, ‘It’s a lot different. The training is not as rigorous. It’s a lot more sharpening.’ And I’ve seen guys that I’ve competed with go on and be successful. I watched Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler in the ring last week [at UFC 268] and those guys are phenomenal fighters, but I’ve been able to compete with both of them in wrestling. And so I’m like, if they can do it, I believe I can do it. I’ve got a unique set of skills, so I think I could do that.”