MMA fighting

Two-time Olympic medalist Kyle Snyder no longer plans to pursue MMA, focusing fully on wrestling

Kyle Snyder has plenty to deal with with the sport of wrestling these days and while he remains a fan of mixed martial arts, he no longer plans to pursue a future in combat.

The two-time Olympic medalist, who is preparing for a supermatch against fellow American J’Den Cox in a special event on Wednesday night, previously said he wanted to test himself in mixed martial arts right after attending the UFC 203 in Cleveland. in 2016.

Although he still loves MMA, Snyder is convinced that he will only be a wrestler until the time comes to call it a career.

“Yes, it’s true [I’m staying with wrestling]“Snyder confirmed to The fighter against the writer. “I went to the Stipe Miocic fight and then I want the Cody ‘No Love’ [Garbrandt] vs [Dominick] Cross and [Ronda] Rousey versus Nunes, so those are big fights. It’s like the environment is just crazy and you’re like I have to do this after you get out of there.

“Now I just see myself struggling. I don’t know how long. How long God wills it. I love it. I would like to do this for a long time but all God wants me to do is what I will do. Right now I’m just focused and preparing for this game in March.

While Snyder isn’t the only one with a genuine passion for wrestling, it wasn’t too long ago that athletes struggled to make real money, forcing them to turn to others. interests like MMA to help pay the bills and earn a living. .

Thanks to companies like Rudis, which have sponsored Snyder for years, as well as prize money provided by endowments like the Living the Dream Medal Fund which pays wrestlers for winning medals at the Olympics, there are actually real money to win in sports now.

“I think wrestling as a whole is growing,” Snyder said. “I think right before I came into the limelight, it was still tough just being a wrestler and competing internationally. You just couldn’t make enough money, especially if you wanted to have a family and stuff like that. All the money was really in training and the clubs.

“Now the best are earning good salaries. American wrestling is supported by the club you’re wrestling at and obviously those other sponsors have now helped many wrestlers. It’s perfect.”

As one of America’s most successful wrestlers over the past two Olympic cycles, Snyder can’t fault the money he was able to earn, which allowed him to continue training at full time while competing internationally all year round.

“Everything is comfortable,” Snyder said. “Everything is fine. I feel like I have everything it takes to compete at the highest level. It’s perfect.”

Time is also on Snyder’s side considering he won his Olympic gold medal when he was just 20 while still competing on the Ohio State University wrestling team.

Now 26, Snyder is a true veteran who has no plans to slow down any time soon and that will only make the USA wrestling program that much stronger with him.

“People struggle longer,” Snyder said. “Jordan [Burroughs] will soon be 34 years old. [Kyle] Dake is in his thirties. David [Taylor] is in his thirties. Guys wrestle longer because there’s more support and you can make more money and support your family, especially if you win.

“It’s good. I think we will continue to have a stronger team and continue to win world championships individually and as a team. Everything will be good for wrestling.

Although Snyder is closing the book on any potential fighting career, he still remains a fan of the sport and he certainly plans to watch one of his sparring partners as he transitions into MMA.

“I’m looking forward to Bo Nickal’s entry into professional fighting,” Snyder said of the Penn State wrestler-turned-fighter. “I think he’s going to be a beast. I think he’s going to be someone who can have an immediate impact on his division. This someone I can’t wait to get into the fighting world.

Next up for Snyder is a best two out of three with an Olympic bronze medalist in Cox, who was supposed to be his main rival at 97kg ahead of the 2020 Games.

Unfortunately, Cox was not allowed to participate in the US Olympic trials after arriving late for the official weigh-ins. Now Snyder is excited to face arguably the biggest rival he has on Team USA.

“With me and J’den not having been able to wrestle at the Olympic trials and it was a highly anticipated match, people were really looking forward to that, so we were able to sign that match,” Snyder said.

“We’re not going to wrestle just once, but we’re going to wrestle in the top two out of three, like we would if it was the Olympic trials.”

A few months ago, Cox got his own taste of MMA after being in Arizona alongside Olympic gold medalist and retired two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo while spending time on the carpet with Jon Jones.

Jones, who was a college wrestler in his own right, said he ate “serious, humble pie” after wrestling with Cox on the mats.

Snyder wasn’t surprised to learn that’s how those workouts went, because while he respects MMA fighters, he knows it’s a whole different world when trying to compete with a monster like Cox on the mats.

While fellow Olympic medalist Kyle Dake teased his interest in a wrestling match against a legend like Khabib Nurmagomedov if given the chance, Snyder sees what happened when Jones tested himself against Cox to find out. exactly what would happen if he faced someone from MMA. world.

“Fans would love to see it,” Snyder said. “I just feel like it would be – unless we messed up – it would be too easy. Even the best guys [in MMA], once you are out of sport, that would be a problem. That would be a problem.