The combat sports world is still buzzing about Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs, who dry cleaned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contender Ben Askren last Monday night at Beat the Streets charity event in New York City.
That includes UFC President Dana White.
After all, if Burroughs can run through a top fighter like “Funky,” imagine what he could do to the rest of the 170-pound field. Sure, he would have to learn how to throw hands and defend jiu-jitsu holds, but if Brock Lesnar can do it, any wrestler can!
“I’m always interested in, you know, these guys that are considered the best athletes in whatever it is they do wanting to come to the UFC,” White told The Jim Rome Show. “Yeah, obviously I’d be very interested.”
Which is why Olympians like Daniel Cormier, Yoel Romero, and Henry Cejudo are currently doing work at the highest level of cage fighting.
Unfortunately for dreamers like White and some of the fans who think Burroughs only needs six months of MMA training to become champion, there are still a boatload of intangibles to consider, including the marked difference between mat wrestling and cage wrestling.
And you know, that whole getting-punched-in-the-face thing.
“I just want to fight one time, that’s it,” Burroughs recently told ESPN (via MMA Fighting). “I just want one fight. Because like for me, it’s not about the status, not about the glory. It’s not about the money. Like, I just want to throw my hands and see what I’m made of. And I think that wrestlers and fighters have that same fighting spirit. And I really feel like that’s in wrestling and UFC we’re kind of, we collaborate in that way. I’ve always thought about it. I’ve considered it when I was young, I was like, ‘listen, I’m going to fight. I want to be a star. I’m going to fight.’”
UFC is unlikely to put its marketing muscle, which does not come cheap, behind a guy like Burroughs for a one-off. As popular as he’s become in wrestling, the promotion needs casual fans to care when it comes time to convert interest to profit.