As one would expect, the UFC and WWE both had Olympians on their agenda during the 2016 games in Rio.
Helen Maroulis perhaps is the most intriguing name to emerge from the Olympics. A gold medalist at 53 kg, the Maryland native has options in both the world of MMA and professional wrestling. Maroulis spoke openly about how much she hated the lifestyle and cut to 35 kg (116 pounds), and it's said that she walks around at about 130 pounds, so she'd likely benefit from an often-talked about 125 division being created in the UFC.
A WWE source did confirm to Fightful that Hall of Famer Gerald Brisco was in Rio scouting talent for the company. It'd be hard to believe that the WWE wouldn't go after Maroulis, the first female American gold medalist in wrestling. At 24-years old, Maroulis is just one of many Olympians that we'll likely see on our screens.
Bekzod Abdurakhmonov is another interesting name because he's already well into his mixed martial arts career. The 155 pound fighter amassed a 6-0 record over 11 months between July 20, 2013 and June 20, 2014 before focusing on his Olympic training. He competes in the United States several times, so it's likely that he's going to be getting calls from Bellator, WSOF and the UFC. The 26-year old made headlines by also defeating Jordan Burroughs in the 70kg quarterfinals.
Bilyal Mahkov has already signed with the UFC, and will start to make plans for a debut now that the Olympics are over. 28-years old, 6'5", 265 pounds, Mahkov was a bronze medalist at the 2012 games in freestyle wrestling. Mahkov lost in his first match in Rio to Alen Zasyeyev, but UFC color commentator Joe Rogan had some interesting comments about the Russian on his podcast (transcript by CSF).
Watch this motherfucker wrestle. He's so fucking fast and so big and so strong, and when he gets to MMA, he's running through motherfuckers. You are not stopping his takedown. Guys that become that level world champion at anything that's combat sport related, they figure it out, man. It's like he's trying to grab people as he's punching them. He's such a big f***ing gorilla though, he could just haymaker on you. He's definitely gotta work on his kicks too but hey, man, he's a super athlete.
Last, but not least, it would appear as if Olympic Silver Medalist Jamie Espinal has a WWE offer. At 31 years old, he's a bit more seasoned than most prospects, but he says that he's already considering the idea of signing.
"I like it," Espinal said to ElNuevoDia. "I am quite charismatic, I think. And I like the public, people. I think I would be fine. I'll get all offers and see which is the best ever. If (WWE) offers me a more comfortable life and that in the long term makes more sense. If in the struggle (Olympic) offer me things, and it is long term and quieter, as I stay in the fight."
WWE has had success with Olympians over the past couple of decades, including Kurt Angle, Chad Gable and Mark Henry. The UFC also has it's fair share, with Yoel Romero, Dan Henderson, Sara McMann, Ronda Rousey, Daniel Cormier and several others making their marks.
- From The Web