Gable Steveson is just 21 years old, but the Minnesota wrestler is already scoring huge accolades in the world of wrestling. The defending NCAA Division I National Champion just added an Olympic gold medal in Freestyle wrestling to his resume, opening up all sorts of opportunities for his future, from WWE to MMA to further elite wrestling.
However, Steveson gave a hint at his future — or at least, really intrigued the fight world — by sending a Tweet in the direction of UFC President Dana White shortly after his performance in Tokyo, Japan. Speaking with MMAFighting, Steveson explained further his interest in competing inside the Octagon.
“Most definitely, I’m a fight fan,” Steveson said (via MMANews). “Who wouldn’t want to be the baddest man on the planet? Who wouldn’t want to hold that UFC championship belt? I’m holding the gold medal and I’m the baddest wrestler on the planet. Why wouldn’t I want to go out there and be the baddest UFC heavyweight champion?”
In addition to the obvious appeals of holding UFC gold (i.e. fame, fortune), Steveson believes it’s very possible for him to ascend the UFC Heavyweight ladder quickly. He explained, “I do believe that with my wrestling skills and me putting on some striking skills, I can be the champion in less than 18 months. I can go out there and dominate my way through the heavyweight field.”
Of course, self-belief is a massive part of scoring an Olympic gold medal regardless of discipline, but there is definitely precedence for meteoric rises through the Heavyweight division. Brock Lesnar parlayed his renown and decorated wrestling background in a UFC title in just his third bout inside the Octagon, less than a year after signing to the promotion. Much more recently, Ciryl Gane claimed interim gold almost exactly two years after his first UFC victory, rising nearly effortlessly through the division. Perhaps Steveson has noticed this trend and intends to be the next?
Ultimately, the Minnesota Golden Gopher has plenty of available options wherever his aspirations land him.