Top 11 - MMA Wrestlers (2018)
In this list I am taking into account their wrestling credentials but more how effectively they have transitioned these skills to MMA. So this is really the top 10 MMA wrestlers.
Honourable Mention: Demetrious Johnson
Mighty Mouse just misses out. He is an exceptional wrestler with arguably the best and quickest level changes in the game but because all his other skills are so good, his opponents have too much to focus on and get taken down easily.
11. Gregor Gillespie
NCAA Division 1, National Champion in 2007 and holds the Webster Schroeder High School record for most career wins with 152, most wins as a freshman with 40, and has the highest winning percentage of 92%. He is also unbeaten in MMA dominating everyone with his grappling but is yet to apply this disgusting pedigree to an elite grappler. Look out for him.
10. Frankie Edgar
What to say about this man? Absolute lion heart and legend who like Mighty Mouse has so many tools, athleticism and endurance that his takedowns almost become unstoppable.
9. Henry Cejudo
We haven’t seen Cejudo dominate opponents with his wrestling quite like other fighters on this list but his credentials speak for themselves winning multiple gold medals at national championships and of course gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
8. Chris Weidman
The 'All-American' lives and breathes wrestling. Two-time All American honours at Nassau College and Hofstra as well as being a New York State champion. He snatched the Middleweight strap off one of the greatest champions in MMA history - Anderson Silva and beat him again to remain unbeaten. At the time he looked like one of the greatest wrestlers ever to grace the octagon.
7. Yoel Romero
Specimen and athletic freak who is somehow 41 years old. He is an accomplished Olympic wrestler who won silver at the Sydney games with a host of other medals at other national championships. The only reason he is not at the top of the list is that he hasn't quite shown that dominance in the cage. Maybe because he relies on his terrifying striking to put people sleep instead.
6. Daniel Cormier
Another Olympian but although he hasn't had the success of The Soldier of God, his wrestling in the cage has enabled him to become one of the best Light Heavyweights of all time. The way he threw around the likes of Dan Henderson, Alexander Gustafsson and co will feature in highlight reels forever.
5. Jon Jones
I always thought DC was a better wrestler than Jones and he probably is but the only reason he is ahead of him is because of what happened in their fights. Jones took the Olympian down 3 times in 8 attempts whereas DC took him down once in 11 attempts but it was the ease in which Jones took him down and defended that was shocking.
4. Cain Velasquez
Pretty much the only time he hasn't utterly dominated every opponent with his wrestling was at altitude against Fabricio Werdum. But 'sea-level Cain' as Dan Hardy calls it - can suffocate and dismantle anyone. Junior Dos Santos had some of the best ever take down defence in the division but Cain took his soul twice, throwing him around the octagon.
3. Georges St Pierre
GSP's wrestling is so strong and so powerful and has to be one of the most effective wrestlers ever which is crazy considering he only started to train in his late teens. He has the most takedowns in UFC history with 90 and the 3rd highest accuracy with 73.8% - he is just another freak.
2. Ben Askren
The only non-UFC fighter on the list. He is one of the best welterweights in the world and it's pretty much all down to his wrestling. He is a two-time state champion in Wisconsin with gold medals at the Pan American, United States and World Championships as well as being a former ONE and Bellator Welterweight champion and I hope one day he will fight in the UFC, against GSP or even the next man on the list...
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
The demon from Dagestan. He is not an out and out wrestler like the other fighters on this list but his skills have enabled him to out-wrestle everyone he has come up against so far. He has ungodly strength combined with the fact he is a black belt in Judo and a Master of Sports in Sambo and Pankration (whatever the hell that is) just puts his wrestling on a different level, ragdolling as he pleases.