A lot of high level prospects have jumped into MMA hoping to find success. Recently wrestling standout Ed Ruth and Tyrell Fortune debuted for Bellator. Jarod Trice is set to debut on December 3rd for the promotion. Aaron Pico is also under contract with Bellator. Russian Olympian Bilyal Makhov was signed by the UFC with no professional MMA experience. Iranian wrestler Amir Aliakbari is fighting for Rizin. I expect the floodgates to continue to stay opened for competitors in wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, judo and kickboxing. There are other fighters who have recently made transitions that I did not include on this list because I felt they were too deeply transitioned. Davi Ramos, an elite BJJ practitioner has a 5-1 record already. Ary Farias is 3-1 in MMA. BJJ star Kron Gracie is 3-0 with some impressive showings. Some kickboxers have dabbled in MMA, but I see the path to full time and successful MMA being more difficult for them. Robin Van Roosmalen is 1-0 in MMA, but still is competing in kickboxing. Anderson Braddock Silva is more likely to make a full switch to MMA, he already has a 2-0 professional mark. Obviously, the biggest name would be Rico Verhoeven. Rico is the top kickboxer in the world. He has a 1-0 MMA mark, but I do not expect him to do any more than just dabble in MMA.
We take a look at 12 different elite level athletes in other disciplines who could make the transition to MMA some time in the near future. I tried to find people who were more than pure speculation or wishful thinking, but have actually spoken about a potential move to MMA. The addition of any of these would be a boost for the sport.
1. Kyle Snyder
Snyder is an Olympic gold medalist. Those don’t come around often. He has made clear that he wants to fight MMA and may do so sooner rather than later. The questions for Snyder are, how would a potential MMA career impact a run at the 2020 Olympics. I am assuming that is still important to him. However, he could forego that and jump right into MMA. I am quite certain UFC and Bellator would love to get their hands on him. Also, he is still a collegiate athlete that has to uphold his amateur status. I could see a scenario where he leaves school to compete in MMA, but that is not a sure thing. If Snyder would move full time to MMA it would make him the best prospect in the sport. He is just 20-years old, has an incredible wrestling pedigree and could fight in the heavyweight or light heavyweight divisions. It is not really speculation of Snyder jumping into MMA, he has said he will. However, I will believe it when I see it.
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