While spending three glorious days at the NCAA wrestling championship, I was lucky enough to see Iowa come back to win a team title, several fantastic finishes and records broken. I saw an egregious lack of sportsmanship when Iowa's Brent Metcalf pushed his opponent, Darrion Caldwell, while Caldwell did a celebratory backflip. But above all, I saw some future MMA stars. Wrestling in the NCAAs has been a direct pipeline to MMA lately. Johny Hendricks, Shane Roller, Jake Rosholt, Ben Askren and Phil Davis have all won championships in recent years before moving onto MMA. So who should you hope goes from the mat to the cage?
Darrion Caldwell, North Carolina St.: Caldwell pulled out one of the biggest upsets in recent years with his win over undefeated and highly favored Brent Metcalf of Iowa. He tends to get his opponents on their back quickly and ability to get fast takedowns would be great for MMA. He is a junior this year, so we won't see him a cage right away, but keep an eye out for him.
Jermail Porter, Kent State: This heavyweight comes from the mold of Brock Lesnar. He is strong, agile and fast. He could bulk up -- pun sort of intended -- the heavyweight division in MMA. Though he didn't win the national championship, he is an excellent wrestler graduates this year, so keep your fingers crossed.
Reece Humphrey, Ohio St.: He placed second, but this junior is a definite prospect for the cage. His big throws and strength would translate well to MMA, and as a wrestler at Ohio State, he has a built-in fanbase. he wrestled at 133, so we could hope to see him as a bantam or featherweight. Again, we will have to wait for a year as he has another year as a Buckeye, but it would be great to see Humphrey try fighting.