Freestyle wrestling Olympic gold medallist Jordan Burroughs rules out future MMA switch

The financial rewards on offer tempted the American, but not as much as the chance to win a second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

By Andrew Binner ·

Honour, simplicity, and a desire to avoid being ‘punched in the face.’

These are the reasons that London 2012 Olympic wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs will not switch sports to mixed martial arts, or potentially fight in the UFC.

“It’s a different sport, it’s a completely different sport,” the American told The Jim Rome Show.

“I have so much appreciation and admiration for those (MMA) guys. But, I love wrestling. Wrestling is my craft. It’s not as glamorous, you don’t make as much money, but I think what we do is all about honor, and that’s what makes it cool for me.”

“In a wrestling match, if you lose you go have dinner with your family, if you lose an MMA fight you go to the hospital. So it’s something that I am not really interested in doing, but I will be an advocate for it, cause I love watching it.”

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Lucrative rewards

Understandably, the significant financial rewards on offer in the UFC are one factor that caused Burroughs to stop and think.

After winning everything wrestling has to offer, the four-time world champion has been pivotal in trying to raise his sport’s profile in recent years. One of the benefits of this is higher financial rewards for athletes.

His recent war of words over social media ahead of his clash with fellow world champion David Taylor was new to freestyle wrestling, but a tried and tested tactic for hyping up a fight - and attracting paying viewers - in boxing or the UFC.

“I follow Conor McGregor on Instagram, I see him pull up with a new Rolex and a Bentley, driving a Lamborghini to practice, riding a yacht into Abu Dhabi to Fight Island. And I am like ‘Damn, I should’ve fought’,” the New Jersey native continued.

“It's an interesting dynamic. I think I can really translate well. Most of the champions in MMA are former wrestlers. Kamaru Usman, Henry Cejudo, Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier. All these guys were great wrestlers. I was teammates and trained alongside them guys. So I am like ‘If they can do it – I can do it’."

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Preparing for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Instead, the only tangible glory Burroughs is chasing is that of Olympic gold medal number two.

On Wednesday (January 28), International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach reaffirmed the governing body’s intention to proceed with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as planned in 2021, despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the one-year postponement, 32-year-old Burroughs is excited for the challenge of qualifying for his third Olympic Games at the USA Trials this April.

“It’s a super exciting time for myself and my family and my teammates. I’m just training, getting my weight down, getting ready for the Olympic trials and hopefully going out there and putting on a show.”

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