The 31st Olympiad has been underway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the past eight days and today the wrestling tournament begins.
Being as old as the Olympic games themselves as well as MMA (in the form of Pankration) it would be appropriate for a list about the Olympics to be compiled in an Olympic year. This Summer Olympic Top 10 is about the Top 10 Olympic Wrestling Medalists to compete in MMA.
The various athletes will be ranked based on their accomplishments in Olympic wrestling and not based on their accomplishments in MMA. Here they are:
10) Randi Miller
Randi Miller was a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and competed in MMA at Invicta FC’s first event.
9) Matt Lindland
The now retired Matt Lindland earned silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics via some court proceedings to earn him the nickname “the Law”. Lindland was a part of the original Team Quest consisting of wrestlers doing both sports.
8) Sara McMann
Sara McMann made history at the 2004 Athens Olympics as the first American woman to earn a silver medal. In MMA, McMann would go onto challenge Ronda Rousey for her at the time UFC Championship at UFC 170.
7) Stephen Abas
Like the above mentioned McMann, Stephen Abas earned silver at Athens and won three matches in MMA.
6) Kevin Jackson
Kevin Jackson earned a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and earned a 4-2 MMA record. One of his career highlights included fighting Frank Shamrock for the inaugural UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
5) Mark Schultz
Earning a gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Mark Schultz beat Gary Goodridge at UFC 9.
4) Henry Cejudo
Henry Cejudo won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and now competes in the UFC. He actually went to far as to challenge Demetrious Johnson for the UFC Flyweight Championship and will next coach on TUF 24.
3) Rulon Gardner
One of three multiple Olympic medalists on this list, Rulon Gardner won gold and bronze before fighting in MMA. His sole match was at Pride Shockwave 2004 against Olympic Judoku gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida.
2) Karam Gaber
Karam Gaber won gold and silver at Athens and London respectively and in between fought a MMA match.
1) Aleksandr Karelin
While not the only four time Olympic medalist in wrestling, Aleksandr Karelin is the only one to compete in MMA. However, this match is sometimes questioned due to it being in RINGS at a time when it was still a pro wrestling promotion.