It has taken a while, but the Iowa Hawkeyes have their first A-List Hawkeye with UFC aspirations.
The NCAA's toughest team has throughout the years watched as teams like the Cowboys, Nittany Lions, and others planted their flags in MMA, a sport that seems to be created for post-NCAA careers. More NCAA wrestlers than athletes from any other sport have arguably experienced quick success in MMA in the past.
Judokas suffer at close range, strikers are susceptible to takedowns, and BJJ practitioners excel on the ground but may have trouble getting there. A wrestler already has an advantage if they can take a blow and learn to aim a takedown from the standing position.
A wrestler can learn how to use hammer fists on an opponent they've defeated without the help of Freddie Roach. A wrestler's chances of victory increase dramatically as long as they have some degree of control over how the match develops. Most boxers change their game plans to "defensive first" when facing up against a skilled wrestler.
Camps mostly focus on timing sprawls and rising from takedowns rather than practising the ideal setups and fight-ending combinations. Why then, do we not have a Tyron Woodley, Ben Askren, Daniel Cormier, or Bo Nickal from the Hawkeyes?
Despite not claiming to have all the answers, the first Hawkeyes superstar with an MMA glitter in his eye is well aware of what it takes to become a legend in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. If goals were set in that direction, the team with the best reputation for grit and physicality in the sport would make the most impact in MMA.
Simply put, it hasn't happened for some reason. In Iowa City, MMA is fantastic on pay-per-view Saturday evenings, but every other day of the month is devoted to just one thing.
“I’m not really sure why. They’re all tough and have that mentality to go, go, go, but I’m not sure. We’ve never really talked about it. Everybody watches it but our main focus here is wrestling,” Jaydin Eierman said in an interview with the UFC.
After being around names like Tyron Woodley, Michael Chandler and Ben Askren, he is now looking to be like Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“I want to give people what they paid for. That’s how my wrestling has always been, going for that finish, trying to get a pin. Going into MMA I just want that finish. I kind of have a weird style that I’ll bring to fighting from my wrestling that hasn’t really been seen that much. I do a lot of weird stuff when I’m wrestling that I feel like I can transition over well. I feel like I’ll be like Khabib, though, where I’m going to take you down and make you pay, or my pace is going to take over from Iowa and wear you out,” he added.
What do you think does the future hold for Eierman? Let us know in the comments below.